ZEPHYRHILLS — The city council will conduct an official search for a new city manager, even though most members believe interim city manager Steve Spina will end up with the job.
Council members decided this week to form a three-member committee to evaluate candidates and make a recommendation.
The job advertisement will be published after the council votes on the wording at its July 28 meeting, when it will also confirm the committee members. The council agreed to invite Mayor Gene Whitfield, former mayor Cliff McDuffie and former longtime council member Clyde Bracknell to form the committee.
While most council members agreed that Spina is doing a good job and is likely to be the most qualified to step in permanently, council member Alan Knight said he has heard from a couple of people who are interested in applying for the position. Council president Charlie Proctor said he, too, has heard from potential candidates.
Knight said in fairness, the council should advertise the position and give qualified applicants a shot at the job.
"We've got to be careful about the precedents we set," he said.
The council is not legally obligated to conduct a search; the city charter gives the governing body authority to fill the city manager position as it sees fit.
Spina was city manager for 15 years before retiring in 2011. He was replaced by Jim Drumm, who resigned in May when a majority of council members indicated they would not vote to renew his contract. Spina has said he is interested in staying on as city manager again in a permanent capacity.
In other business, results of the annual citizen satisfaction survey indicate a slight majority of people who responded do not favor having property taxes increased to pay for a public swimming pool. At the same time, the top requested amenity is a public swimming pool.
University of South Florida public administration students Sea Marshall-Barley and Susan Obarski told council members that of the 1,200 surveys sent out, 340 were returned. Overall, respondents said they are satisfied with city government and the top three departments they are most happy with are sanitation, utility billing and street maintenance.