TO: Ted Noftall
RE: Your recent letter to Shannon Lewis
You are correct in your assessment of the current state of affairs regarding the Port Orange City Manager position. We need an interim City Manager until the post can be filled permanently and the logical choice for that interim appointment is the current Assistant City Manager, Shannon Lewis. She seems capable, and is already familiar with the daily routine and current issues at the City. I also agree with you that the job description of Assistant City Manager should include the provision that he/she must step up as Interim City Manager in times like these—it should not be optional. The idea that the City should spend money to advertise for and train an outside person into a short-term position is fiscal irresponsibility.
I am not as sure as you seem to be, however, that Mz Lewis’s decision not to accept the Interim City Manager job was entirely her own. The meeting ran too smoothly for me to believe that. Before she spoke for herself, everyone on the dais had sung her praises and made statements to the effect that they wanted her as Interim Manager. The Mayor even listed some conditions, as he understood them and based on conversations with Ms Lewis, that would be necessary for her to accept the job. I thought it was a done deal until she spoke and turned down the implied job offer. No one fumbled and mumbled or tried to talk her out of it, so I assume they knew about her decision beforehand. Only the mayor seemed a little confused when he essentially adjourned the meeting to have a private conversation with her outside of Council chambers. While we’ll never know exactly what transpired outside of the public meeting I assume Mayor Green made sure Ms Lewis was not going to change the script.
Political patronage is a valuable “coin of the realm” in our fair city and (call me a cynic) you can’t give away a high-paying, prestigious job if someone already has it. Mayor Green pointed out at the meeting that people have already contacted him, as I’m sure they’ll be contacting others, about the City Manager position. We need to be careful that the current vacancies at the City are filled based on competence and qualifications rather than personal contacts and political barter.
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127