NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips' bid to become the next city manager has been halted by a legal review of the idea.
At a City Council meeting last week, Phillips surprised his colleagues by rising from his seat on the dais and taking a podium normally reserved for public comment. From there he said he intended to apply for the open city manager position and then listed his qualifications for the job.
But the effort was short-lived, as two days later Phillips learned from the city attorney that New Port Richey's charter prohibits City Council members from applying for or taking a job with the city until they have been off council for a year.
"I'm disappointed, but I respect the charter immensely," Phillips told the Times. "I regret that I didn't have this information before my announcement, but I don't regret letting my colleagues know how serious I am about finding a person with a wide breadth of experience and knowledge."
The City Council has had a rough go of finding a city manager to replace Susan Dillinger, who has been serving on an interim basis for nearly a year following the departure of former City Manager John Schneiger.
Council members recently re-opened the position for applications after the board expressed disappointment with the candidate pool received from the first posting. The new deadline to apply is Friday.