BOYNTON BEACH — Hiring a new city manager in Boynton Beach could take about six months, according to a proposed timeline.
A nationwide search to be led by the Municipal Commission aims to replace Lori LaVerriere, who was fired April 19 by the five-person board. A week later, Fire Chief Jim Stables has been named by the commission to serve as acting city manager.
At its June 7 meeting, the commission asked Julie Oldbury, the city’s director of human resources, to advertise the job opening.
During the meeting, Oldbury walked the commissioners through a full set of steps in the selection process which began with developing a job description and then posting the opening for 30 days on various platforms, including social media sites, online search engines. and trade publications.
“I want to make sure we proceed as soon as possible,” Mayor Ty Penserga said.
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Interviews with finalists could start in October
The plan calls for candidates to be reviewed and ranked by human resources and commissioners, with the top 10 candidates moving to telephone interviews with commissioners in mid-September. Five finalists would be chosen and hold face-to-face interviews with the board until mid-October.
A new city manager, according to the schedule, would be selected in early November provided the candidate passes a thorough background check. The hiring would be formalized at the meeting of the municipal commission on December 6.
At least that’s the suggested plan.
Penserga said the timeline is just a “proposal” and the commission has yet to decide how the hiring process will go. “All we agreed on is to publish (the work) and see what we get,” Penserga said, adding that his intention was to be “thorough” but to take a “quick decision”.
The commission opted to bypass hiring an executive search firm and find a city manager themselves.
Lake Worth Beach paid Daytona Shores-based Colin Baenziger and Associates $26,500 last year to conduct research that resulted in the hiring of Carmen Davis.
Penserga and the commission have agreed to consider partnering with a recruiting firm if their own search proves insufficient. Oldbury was asked to return in a month to provide an update on the nominations.
“We don’t want to pay to do this if we can do it ourselves,” Penserga said. “We could have a lot of candidates without a third party.”
According to Villanova University’s Department of Public Administration, a typical city manager serves in their position for three to six years.
Trouble awaits anyone hired as a manager
LaVerrière stayed much longer than that. She was hired in December 2012 and remained in the role until her surprise exit at the April 19 city commission meeting. A request by incoming commissioner Thomas Turkin to review LaVerriere’s term soon turned into a discussion about terminating his job.
The commission voted 4-1 to fire LaVerriere.
Stables, who beat out two other candidates for the interim job, said last month that he hadn’t decided whether to apply for the permanent job. The Boynton Beach fire chief since January 2021, Stables’ salary was increased last month to $200,000 from the $148,000 he earned leading the fire department.
Whoever the new city manager is will face a host of sensitive issues, including a possible merger between the city police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the fate of a city police officer involved in the death of 13-year-old Stanley Davis III and the wedge City center Development project.
The incoming City Manager will also be responsible for designation permanent police and firefighters. Both departments are headed by interim leaders following the resignation of Chief of Police Michael Gregory and moving the stables into the city manager’s office.
Joseph DeGiulio is acting police chief while Hugh Bruder, the former deputy fire chief, leads the fire department.
Jorge Milian is a reporter who covers Boynton Beach and Lake Worth Beach at the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at Caneswatch. Help support our work: Subscribe today.