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IRB picks top city manager candidate
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Gregg Mims
Gregg Mims, the candidate most likely to be hired as Indian Rocks Beach’s City Manager, faces the City Commission during his interview.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – After an entire day interviewing candidates for the vacant city manager’s position, the mayor and commissioners reached a unanimous agreement.

Gregg Mims, 51, of Fairhope, Ala., is their first choice to be Indian Rocks Beach's next city manager.

Mims was the last of seven candidates to be interviewed on June 18. He was the only one from out of state, and it was apparent as the interview went on that the Commissioners liked what they were hearing.

They made it clear after the interview was over and Mims had left the room.

“It seems like we’ve known him for years,” said Commissioner Phil Hanna.

“I like his longevity, he spends five or six years wherever he’s been,” commented Mayor R.B. Johnson.

“I don’t need to ask any more questions, I know all I need to know,” said Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin, smiling.

Mims’ last job was that of City Administrator of Fairhope, a job that required him to supervise more than 300 employees with a budget of $50 million. Hanna asked Mims if he would be under-challenged coming to Indian Rocks Beach with 30 employees and a $3 million budget.

Mims said the size of the community didn’t matter. He said management was management, and he still had to deal with every individual employee.

The hiring of Mims isn’t a done deal, however. Two other candidates made the short list and if for some reason the background check indicates that the commission not hire Mims, then the others will be approached.

While Mims was first on everyone’s list, J.P. Murphy was second on all the lists except that of Johnson. He had him ranked third. Murphy will be the next candidate in line.

Murphy is currently the director of finance and assistant town manager in Belleair. Johnson’s reluctance to rank him higher could be because on several occasions he said he wanted a city manager with experience.

The third candidate in line is Amy Davis, the current budget manager for the city of Largo. Davis was second on Johnson’s list and third on all others except Commissioner Phil Hanna, who chose another candidate who didn’t make the final short list.

If Mims isn’t hired, then Murphy and Davis will be asked back for a final interview before their next selection is made.

There is little doubt if the background check is clean the mayor and commissioners want Mims. However, they expressed concern that he has applied for other positions, and that he might accept a job elsewhere before the process to hire him is complete.

Hanna wondered if the background check could be speeded up so the city could make him a formal offer quickly. City Clerk Deanne O’Reilly said the check on Mims could start right away but it might take a while because he was from out of state.

Earlier during the interview Mims outlined his management style.

“I’m a coach not a commander,” he said. “I like to treat the employees like I would want to be treated. I’m part of a team.”

Johnson wondered if Mims would put the reins on the commission anytime he felt they were taking the wrong direction on an issue.

Mims quickly replied: “I would never embarrass you,” he said.

It will take two weeks before Mims, or either of the other candidates, can be hired. The background checks will take up to 10 days. Then a contract has to be negotiated with the city attorney and then, at the commission meeting on June 25, the commission will have the final say on the hiring.
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