Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kenneth City manager job already getting interest

W.D. Higginbotham is now a managerial consultant in Seminole.

W.D. Higginbotham is now a managerial consultant in Seminole.

KENNETH CITY — Officials here haven't had a chance to discuss the hiring of their first town manager, but they've already gotten an application.

W.D. Higginbotham, 71, served as city manager of Madeira Beach from June 2008 to March 2011 when he resigned during a period of turmoil. Higginbotham has a certificate in accounting from Tulane University in New Orleans.

He has also managed the Florida municipalities of Surfside, Melbourne Beach and Gainesville. He served as a public finance adviser on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghdad from December 2007 to April 2008. He is currently senior vice president of the Mercer Group in Seminole, where he lives. Mercer is a national managerial consulting firm that provides services to federal, state and local governments, health care providers, transit authorities, utilities and private-sector clients.

Mayor Teresa Zemaitis said she has told Higgintbotham that he needs to hold off applying until the town has created a job description and started advertising. Council members are scheduled to meet tonight to discuss that issue, among others.

Higginbotham said Monday that he was less interested in applying for a full-time or permanent job than he was about volunteering to help with the transition from Kenneth City's current government to a council-manager format. Under the town's current system, an elected mayor and four council members are each responsible for the daily activities of a town department. But the town has been beset by squabbles at least since the early to mid-1990s and, on Nov. 5, 61 percent of voters chose to change to a system under which the mayor and council set policy while a professionally trained town manager runs Kenneth City.

"It's going to be difficult," Higginbotham said of the transition, which has to be completed by early March. "But I think in very short order, everybody's going to be pleased."

Higginbotham predicted that "probably the toughest part of the thing is surrendering that authority over the departments and the employees that the elected body has right now."

Referring to a comment that Zemaitis made about being happy to give up overseeing the daily minutiae in favor of spending time on creating a vision and setting policy, Higginbotham said, "If they all take that attitude, it'll be an easy transition. If there's some reluctance (it) will be difficult at first."

Higginbotham said that, when he offered his services, he did not realize that Zemaitis had called in the Range Riders for help.

The Range Rider program is a joint project of the Florida City and County Management and the International City/County Management associations. The program is made up of retired city managers who volunteer to help cities transition to a manager format of government. A member of the Range Riders is scheduled to be at the workshop.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

fast facts

Workshop is set

The Kenneth City Town Council has scheduled a workshop to discuss, among other things, qualifications, advertising and hiring a town manager. Among the issues are expected to be salary, whether the position will be full- or part-time, and qualifications. The meeting, which is open to the public, is set for

7 p.m. today in Community Hall, 4600 58th St. N.

Kenneth City manager job already getting interest 11/19/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 3:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech

    Editorials

    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …

  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway

    Stage

    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. Editorial: When protest leads to understanding

    Editorials

    The protests against racial injustice by professional athletes across the country include examples of communities where it has not been handled well. And then there is the example set in Tampa Bay.

  4. Why it's too early to give up on the Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't panic. It's not too late for the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after the defense recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Backlog of immigration cases under Trump stymies immigrants in Florida

    Courts

    It was supposed to be a routine green card renewal for a Thai woman who has called Central Florida home for years.

    Immigration lawyers such as Gerald P. Seipp of Clearwater worry that their clients' circumstances will change with long delays in their immigration court appeals, hurting their chances of staying in the country. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]