Largo Commission chooses Henry Schubert as next city manager
LARGO — When it comes to the next city manager, commissioners chose a familiar face.
The commission voted 5-2 for Henry Schubert, one of Largo's two assistant city managers, to move to the top spot when Mac Craig retires in March. Commissioners Samantha Fenger and Michael Smith dissented.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Schubert said in between handshakes with commissioners and city employees.
The vote was between Schubert, a city employee since 1980, and Russ Blackburn, who has served in administrative positions for several municipal and county governments, most recently as Gainesville's city manager.
Each candidate went through roughly 90-minute public interviews, with much of the questioning related to funding, annexation, downtown economic development and community outreach.
No residents showed up to provide input, although three emailed their feedback with two urging the commission to choose Blackburn. The vote itself took only a few minutes with no discussion from commissioners.
Mayor Woody Brown said after the meeting he would have been more inclined to go with Blackburn if he had a more outgoing personality.
"Had Mr. Blackburn been more dynamic, it would have been a harder decision for me," he said.
He added that he appreciated Schubert's emphasis on community outreach and took into consideration positive reviews on Schubert from city employees and residents.
Fenger said she was disappointed her fellow commissioners made what she called a "safe choice." She said Blackburn had concrete ideas and a diverse local government background that would've been beneficial to the city, pointing to Largo's motto as the "City of Progress."
"How are we a city of progress when we continue to progress with the same individuals?" she said.