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Council may expand city manager search

Noting they want just the right person to lead the city's redevelopment efforts, some city council members say they may want to broaden the search for a new city manager.

The suggestion comes after the council interviewed three of four finalists Friday.

A fourth candidate, J. Scott Miller _ city manager in College Park, Ga. _ was unable to make the trip because of Hurricane Ivan. His interview was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall.

However, some council leaders say they do not want to rush to pick a successor for former City Manager Gerald Seeber.

"I would like to see at least five candidates," said council member Tom Finn, noting "we've invested a lot of time and a lot of money" in this search.

Initially, elected leaders narrowed 105 applications to a field of five finalists and one alternate: Samuel Monticello of Hazleton, Pa.

The candidates were to compete for the city's top job at a salary of about $100,000.

Then Monticello was selected by neighboring Port Richey as its choice for city manager. Negotiations are ongoing. Soon after, finalist Mark Hill, Alachua County's assistant county manager, withdrew his name.

That left Jerald Ducay, village administrator in Frankfort, Ill.; Donald Greer, city administrator and police chief of Crestwood, Mo.; Rex Taylor, interim city manager of Delray Beach and Miller.

Seated in the audience during their interviews, former New Port Richey mayor Wendy Brenner said the council should hold off on naming a replacement.

"I don't think you've got a broad enough perspective," she said.

Added council member Bob Langford: "I wouldn't mind a fifth candidate either."

But at least one council member wanted to expedite the process.

"I don't see anything wrong with the candidates we have," Matthew McCaffery said. "Maybe it was fate we only had four . . . I think it's unnecessary to prolong this any longer than necessary."