Bob Daniels

MADEIRA BEACH — After having decided in a close vote not to extend the contract of City Manager Bob Daniels, and to advertise the position, the City Commission on Aug. 11 narrowed down the applicants for the job to seven finalists from a field of 28. That voting was based upon commissioners’ reviews of the job applications, where commissioners each picked five candidates they wanted to be interviewed.

There was a lot of agreement in the voting, with seven candidates getting two or more votes. Commissioner Helen “Happy” Price recommended seven as the cut-off, which was agreed to by all.

The seven are:

• Lyndon Bonner, most recently county administrator of Jackson County, Florida, and one-time interim city manager of Brooksville, Florida;

• Carl Brown, grants administrator with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and former financial reporting analyst with the city of Alexandria, Virginia;

• Current City Manager Robert Daniels, whose contract was not renewed when the council decided to seek additional candidates;

• Timothy Day, currently interim city manager for the city of Bowling Green, Florida;

• Jeffrey Durbin, currently interim town manager for the town of Frisco, Colorado and 17-year town manager of the town of Fraser, Colorado;

• Lawrence Mcnaul, county manager of Hardee County, Florida; and

• Lee Staab, former county manager of Grand County, Colorado.

Only one candidate, Bonner, who had been a top candidate two years ago when the city was last selecting a city manager, got the vote of all five commissioners for the short list. Day got four votes. Current City Manager Daniels received only three votes, a bare majority, from Mayor John Hendricks and Commissioners Nancy Hodges and Dave Hutson, indicating his rehire as city manager is far from certain. Four candidates got two votes each.

The commission is now interviewing the seven selected candidates and will narrow the list to three favorites at a special meeting on Aug. 25. Those three will advance to another round of interviews.

A delay in scheduling interviews for the seven candidates caused the selection process to be extended, so that the final city manager choice will be made Sept. 7. Daniels’ contract as city manager expires on Sept. 1. A decision will need to be made on appointing an interim city manager as of that date.

Price said she was happy with the candidates for city manager. She said she was “very disturbed” by comments made by Hutson at the previous meeting when he expressed disappointment with the applicants. She said she “couldn’t disagree more” with Hutson’s view.

“The vast majority had every qualification this board put in our job advertisement. I had a hard time narrowing it down to five,” Price said. “No doubt we will select a great city manager.”