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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tarpon Commission undecided on city manager search



TARPON SPRINGS - Mayor Beverley Billiris was seeking some direction from the City Commission Tuesday night to move forward with a national search for a new city manager.

That’s not exactly what she got.

Commissioners were all over the map in a discussion about whether to let Interim City Manager Mark LeCouris stay on the job indefinitely and postpone plans to seek outside applicants.

At last week’s commission meeting, LeCouris offered to remain interim city manager for a few months, or longer, while the city grapples with the possibility of budget cuts and major projects heading into the development phase. LeCouris said that he had gained the skills necessary to keep things afloat, even carry the city forward, through his eight and a half years as the city’s acting administrative services director.

But Billiris asked fellow commissioners to see what other applicants could bring to the city before making a decision. “If you do decide to hire Mark at the end of the day, we can at least say he competed against others and he was the best choice,” she said.

Commissioner Robin Saenger agreed. "This is, as a commission, maybe the most important decision we’ll make in regard to our city,'' she said.

But Commissioners Chris Alahouzos, Peter Dalacos and Susan Slattery said they would consider putting off a search to give LeCouris a chance to prove himself. Dalacos and Slattery said they wanted to see the cost to hire a search firm before making a decision.

The meeting was a non-voting work session. Commissioners will decide the matter at an upcoming meeting.

LeCouris, Tarpon’s police chief since 1993, took over as city manager two months ago after former city manager Ellen Posivach resigned under pressure from the commission.

-- Rita Farlow, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:29am]


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