TREASURE ISLAND — During a commission meeting to consider selecting Assistant City Manager and Finance Director Amy Davis for the city’s top administrative post, it was revealed that friends of a controversial former beach city manager lobbied to open up the search for applicants.
Members of the Treasure Island City Commission had been unanimous in their support to promote Davis to the city manager position with the retirement of Garry Brumback effective June 1. But two of the council members urged colleagues to at least consider other applicants.
At the May 4 meeting of the Treasure Island commission, Mayor Tyler Payne revealed that “five people have told me they think we should open the position up to applicants from the public. I think most of those, to be completely transparent and honest, are motivated by one particular person … who previously served in that position in a nearby town.”
He did not identify that person at the meeting, but Payne later confirmed to Tampa Bay Newspapers it was Shane Crawford, former city manager in Madeira Beach who resigned in 2017 after a new city council slate in that city prepared to oust him.
Crawford clashed with a new mayor and commissioners over proposals for new development in Madeira Beach and his relationship and eventual marriage to a city hall staffer. The city endured months of internal squabbling and dueling ethics complaints.
Payne said, “I have never met this person and this person has not reached out to me directly,” but he and Commissioner Saleene Partridge both indicated Treasure Island constituents had asked them to open the search.
“My constituents asked me to speak to that,” Partridge said. “Not that they are in favor of an outside search, and not that they are in favor of spending money on it, just to allow other applicants to apply as part of an open process.”
But the full commission, including Payne and Partridge, ultimately decided Davis was the person for the job.
“For me as a newly elected mayor, having to deal with a learning curve of somebody coming into our city, learning the atmosphere and nuances of our staff, and our teamwork that Garry has done such a great job of building, a seamless transition would be the best way to go,” Payne said. “Garry’s confidence in Amy speaks a lot and our directors have all given her their full support … All things considered, right now I lean towards just moving forward with our amazing candidate we have in house.”
Partridge said she is “in full support of Amy. I think she has done a great job.”
Commissioner Deborah Toth said she has felt confident in Davis since she has been interim city manager in the past “and shined at that job,” and has been Brumback’s understudy for the last three years. “I have confidence that she could readily assume the position,” she said.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sasha Lohn, general counsel and executive director to the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, said “Amy has our full and complete trust.”
Safety Harbor City Manager Matthew Spoor, who also serves as Florida City and County Management Association District 7 director and chairman of the Pinellas County Managers Consortium, said Davis “is a true professional, respected by her peers and always willing to lend a helping hand, advice and expertise. With over 15 years in Pinellas County, Amy would be considered a top-notch assistant city manager in any municipal organization in the entire county, and she is on your team. She has full support of the city managers in Pinellas County.”
Commissioners unanimously voted to name Davis city manager, which brought a standing ovation from those in the council chambers. The commission will adopt a contract at the next meeting, with Davis taking the top administrative post June 1, the same day Brumback retires.
Davis was hired by Treasure Island as finance director and chief financial officer in 2015. She was named assistant city manager and finance director in December 2017.
In 2017, Davis served as interim city manager after Reid Silverboard resigned. According to a Tampa Bay Times article from June 2017, at that time, then-Commissioners Larry Lunn and Ralph Kennedy unsuccessfully lobbied to have the commission interview Crawford for the job ultimately given to Brumback.
Before coming to Treasure Island, Davis served as manager of Largo’s Office of Management and Budget from October 2008 to January 2015 and assistant to the city manager from May 2006 to October 2008. Davis earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Central Florida in 2006, and has a bachelor’s degree in math and economics from Ashland University.