INDIAN ROCKS BEACH —The mayor and commission saw a sweet spot between experience and potential for a long tenure in the candidate they chose to be the next city manager.
Gregg Mims, 52, impressed the commission with his 30 years of experience in municipal government, personality, understanding of local issues and extensive natural disaster training.
Mims will start work July 23 and will be introduced to residents at a meet-and-greet prior to that night's regular commission meeting. The commission approved the contract and start terms at a special session Friday.
Mims will earn $90,000 per year as city manager, the same salary paid to Chuck Coward when he retired at the end of May and $5,000 less than the city thought it would need to pay. Mims will also receive a $300 monthly automobile allowance.
"He seemed to understand the beach mentality," said Mayor R.B. Johnson. "I think he gets the kind of place this is. . . . It's not a high-intensity urban environment. We've got that kind of Mayberry feel."
In his previous position as city administrator of Fairhope, Ala., Mims managed more than 300 employees and a $50 million annual budget for $110,000 a year. Indian Rocks Beach employs 30 full-time employees and has an annual budget of around $3 million.
One of Johnson's concerns during the selection process was seeing the city used as a stepping stone and finding itself needing to hire a new manager in a few years. Since being elected to the commission in 2000, Johnson has worked with six different managers.
At this point in his career, Mims said, he and his wife are looking for long-term stability. In addition to staying near the gulf, he cited the city's economic stability and the commission's genial working relationship as reasons for accepting the offer.
Mims will be visiting the city during the Independence Day holiday. He's hoping to lease a house or condo in the city. His desire to live in the city was seen as a benefit to the commission.
Once on the job, Mims said he will set out a "rigorous schedule" of meetings with residents and the media to keep the community informed and to hear residents' concerns.