MADEIRA BEACH — It started with a refusal to compromise, but amid a few sharp exchanges and a lot of long silences, the City Commission finally settled on four, instead of three, city manager finalists Tuesday.
If everything stays on schedule and there are no major surprises in their background checks, one of these men will be the next city manager:
• James P. Gleason: Currently interim city manager in Mascotte. He previously served as city manager for Chamblee, Ga., as well as a city manager/county adviser to the U.S. government in Kirkuk, Iraq. He also was city manager in Woodstock, Ga., and Ocoee. He holds a master's degree in public administration.
• Ken Hurst: The retired Special Forces colonel was based at MacDill and most recently served in Iraq. He has 26 years' experience in government, including three years managing public works and three years as a manager. He has master's degrees in strategic studies and in human resources.
• Peter Lombardi: He served as Treasure Island city manager from 1979 to 1996 and has 42 years of government management experience, including 15 years of public works experience. He serves as village manager for Pinecrest, where his contract ends in August. He holds a bachelor's degree in public administration.
• James Sundermeier: Has 16 years of public works experience and served one year as an interim city manager in 1993. He holds a bachelor's degree in public recreation and has completed graduate work in public administration.
"We are targeting holding public interviews for sometime between July 28 and Aug. 5," Interim City Manager and Fire Chief Bill Mallory said.
The commission's previous pick, Allen Godfrey, withdrew his candidacy last month after Commissioners Terry Lister and Carol Reynolds called him unqualified based on information revealed in a background check.
Tuesday's four finalists were selected from among seven semifinalists, who were culled from a list of 20 candidates several weeks ago.
Last week, the commission failed in its first attempt to reduce that list to three finalists when Mayor Travis Palladeno and Commissioners Nancy Oakley and Robin Vander Velde didn't follow instructions.
Oakley and Vander Velde scored only three candidates, leaving the other names blank. Palladeno picked only one. Lister and Reynolds rated all seven candidates, as instructed.
At Tuesday's meeting, City Attorney Tom Trask suggested that the three commissioners — Reynolds was absent — correct their ballots.
"Mine is complete as far as I am concerned," Oakley responded.
Palladeno then asked whether Lister had "an issue" with any of the others' top three scoring candidates — Gleason, Hurst and Sundermeier.
"Yes," Lister said, adding later, when prompted by Palladeno, that he wanted Lombardi, who had actually tied for third place, included among the finalists.
Oakley and Vander Velde sharply disagreed.
They didn't want Lombardi because he had failed to submit a formal job application by the deadline.
Palladeno suggested that Lombardi should be given a chance to fill out the form.
After Palladeno, Oakley and Vander Velde discussed the issue, Lombardi was added to the list.