INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city has a new city manager and as expected, it is Gregg Mims, 52, of Fairhope, Ala.
Indian Rocks Beach Commissioners made it official at a special meeting June 28, when they unanimously approved his hiring and the contract that went with it.
That contract includes an annual salary of $90,000, which is just than $1,000 more than his predecessor Chuck Coward made. Mims will receive a city-provided cell phone, for business and personal use, four weeks vacation and $300 a month for automobile expenses. The city will also contribute an amount equal to 10 percent of his salary to his 401A retirement fund and he’ll be reimbursed up to $5,000 for his moving expenses.
Commissioners’ comments regarding the hiring were all positive.
“I’m thrilled,” said Commissioner Cookie Kennedy. “I look forward to working with him. If he is even half of what he appears to be then we’re going to be in good hands. I also like that he is going to live here; it takes a special type of person to do that.”
“With his personality I think he is going to work well,” said Mayor R.B. Johnson. “You never know how things are going to work out but I’m optimistic that he will be a perfect fit for our city.”
The hunt for a new city manager began in early April when Coward made it known his intention to retire. Coward and two members of the Range Riders, a group of retired city managers, became the committee to find his replacement. They attracted 60 candidates, pared the list down to a dozen, and after daylong interviews, the commission selected Mims.
Coward retired on May 31, leaving the staff, headed by Interim City Managers Dean Scharmen and Dan Carpenter, to handle the job of carrying out the commission’s choice of the new manager. For that they were thanked by the mayor and commissioners at the special meeting.
“We couldn’t have had a better team,” said Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin. “It all went well, in fact it blew me away. It was a good process and I would recommend the Range Riders to anyone.”
“The whole staff stepped up to the plate,” said Kennedy. “Dean Scharmen deserves to be mentioned in this. It was not an easy job to step in. It is a big deal, he did a wonderful job.”
Scharmen actually flew to Fairhope, Ala., and talked to people about Mims. The commission wanted to make sure they did a thorough background check.
“Dean didn’t find anything to make us change our mind,” said Johnson, who continued with praise for the city staff over the hiring.
“There was lots going on and I really appreciate what Deanne did,” he said of City Clerk Deanne O’Reilly. “There was a lot of letter writing and a lot of behind the scenes work. This time it worked really well. It was a very smooth transition.”
Contacted on Friday in Louisiana where his son was about to get married, Mims said he is excited about coming to Indian Rocks Beach.
“My wife Michelle and I are looking forward to being part of the Indian Rocks Beach community,” he said. “We’re coming to town next week to look for a place to live. We think we’re a great fit, and I expect to learn a lot from the commissioners and the city staff.
Mims has four adult children. Mims’ first day on the job will be Tuesday, July 23. At 6 p.m. that day there will be an open house at City Hall before the 7 p.m. meeting for residents to come and meet the new city manager.