PORT RICHEY — City Council members are reviewing a diverse stack of resumes as efforts ramp up to fill Port Richey's long vacant city manager post.
Council members agreed last week to come up with their short lists for city manager before a public hearing Wednesday to officially narrow the applicant pool. Administrators have recommended nine out of 103 applicants.
Interim City Manager and Port Richey police Chief Dave Brown announced that he, along with City Clerk Sharron Mayberry and administrative analyst Jocilyn Martinez, have completed an extensive review to recommend the nine candidates.
"All of the applications we have compiled are some outstanding candidates with a lot of potential," Brown told the council Tuesday evening. "I assure you that we have been on this for quite some time."
Council members haven't set a salary range for the position, only listing it as a "senior salaried position, with salary and benefits commensurate with experience, qualifications, and skills."
The opening has pulled in candidates both locally and as far away as Yerington, Nev., as well as from Delaware, Maine, South Carolina, Colorado and Missouri.
There are also several candidates with Florida ties, including Bill L. Leach, director of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's Division of Hotels and Restaurants; former Crystal River City Manager Therese C. Leary; and former Williston City Manager James F. Coleman.
Former New Port Richey City Manager and longtime public works director Tom O'Neill has also applied. Earlier this year, the council considered hiring him to serve as interim city manager, but the board opted to move forward with filling the spot permanently.
The vacancy was created in February, when the council fired Ellen Posivach after determining she had made costly equipment purchases without seeking council approval.
"We've gone a long time without and we know how really delicate this item is, it's probably number one," said council member Steve O'Neill.
Steve O'Neill praised Brown's recommendations, saying he also had six of the nine names on his own short list from his first review of the 103 applications. The council agreed to come up with lists of their favorite 15 candidates and send them to Mayberry's office, which will look for the most popular picks before Wednesday's meeting.
Some council members said they wanted a big pool to work with initially.
"I think we should leave our lists longer than short," said council member Nancy Britton.
Steve O'Neill also referenced the council's past struggles with the city manager post and his hope for each member to offer up numerous possible candidates.
"I doubt that as much as we have been through as a group, that someone would only have two or some crazy number," he said.