100 candidates vying to be the new Sarasota city manager

Photo by Norman Schimmel

Not one of the 100 candidates for city manager of Sarasota resides in Sarasota County, according to the list provided to The Sarasota News Leader late April 23 by Kurt Hoverter, the city’s director of human resources.

However, one of the candidates — Susan Stanton — was a finalist for the position when the City Commission four-and-a-half years ago chose to hire Robert Bartolotta.

Bartolotta submitted his resignation to the current City Commission on April 17, in the wake of allegations that he and Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown had been deleting emails, checking on employee activities through email searches and looking at confidential emails that were part of a federal investigation.

Two of the other candidates to replace Bartolotta were among the 49 who applied last fall to become the new Sarasota County administrator: James Chisholm, city manager of Daytona Beach; and Edward Mitchell, administrator of the City of West Palm Beach.

Chisholm was a semi-finalist for the county position, while Mitchell became a finalist.

In December, the Sarasota County Commission hired Randall Reid, then the Alachua County manager, to replace Administrator Jim Ley, who resigned in late May 2011 in the wake of a Procurement Department scandal.

Interim Sarasota City Manager Terry Lewis said April 23 that when he had checked the number of applications for city manager just a couple of weeks ago, he had found the list to number about 35.

The application deadline was April 20, he said, adding that many people wait until the last week to apply for such a post, knowing that when their names become public, that can lead to difficult situations with their current employers, especially in local government.

Of the 100 applicants for the Sarasota city manager’s post, 27 appear to be full-time or part-time Florida residents. Among those, 10 others besides Chisholm and Mitchell are in municipal administration or have held such positions.

That group includes not only Stanton, who was city manager of Lake Worth from 2009 to 2011, but also the following:

• Michael J. Czymbor, city manager of Fernadina Beach from 2006 until January of this year.

• Kenneth Fields, town administrator of Southwest Ranches from 2011 to 2012.

• James P. Gleason, city manager of Mascotte.

• Dwayne “Mike” Good, city manager of Hallandale Beach from 2002 to 2010.

• Thomas S. Heck, town manager in Manalapan in 2010.

• Gary R. King, city manager of Cape Coral from July 2010 until December 2011.

• Barbara Lipscomb, city manager of Casselberry from January 2007 until January of this year.

• Lawrence A. Miller, city administrator of Arcadia since July 2007.

• Paul D. White, assistant city manager of the City of Riviera since February 2002.

Among the other Florida applicants are the division chief for U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa — Lee dePalo; the supervisor of elections for the City of Jacksonville — Jean M. Atkins; the assistant director and CFO of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue — Scott W. Mendelsberg; the Fort Myers Beach fire chief — Mike Becker; and the administrative services director and chief financial officer of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana — James A. “Andy” Edwards.

Another name on the list is Michael C. Hein, director of emergency management and homeland security since 2009 in Pima County, Ariz. Prior to landing his current position, Hein was the youngest city manager in the history of Tucson, Ariz. At the time he was hired for that job, in 2005, he was 38.

Other job experience listed among the remaining candidates ranges from a flight attendant for Express Jet, to the residence coordinator for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, in Wilmington, N.C., to a customer service specialist for J.C. Penney in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

What’s next?

Colin Baenziger, head of the Wellington search firm the City Commission hired to assist with replacing former City Manager Robert Bartolotta, is expected to meet with the Sarasota City Commission in May to develop a list of finalists from Baenziger’s list of semi-finalists for the post, Kurt Hoverter, human relations director for the City of Sarasota, wrote in an April 23 email provided to The Sarasota News Leader.

Hoverter added that the tentative dates for the City Commission to interview the finalists are June 15-16.

The city also had reserved the grand foyer at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for a “Meet the Candidates” reception the evening of June 15, Hoverter wrote. Additionally, the City Commission is expected to ask the finalists to appear during a public meeting during that same time frame.

The finalists also are expected to meet individually with each city commissioner and with the Citizen Advisory Panel the commission appointed to assist in finding a new manager, Hoverter said.