City Manager's Semi-finalist List & Recomendations

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  • June 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

    the following is the only possible negative comment on Randall Dowling that I could find on a google search. — hank
    Unfortunately, after our admin’s first conversation with Pat Graham concerning late pay for county employees due to pay day falling on a holiday, Ms. Graham contacted our admin again to inform her of a conversation she had with County Manager, Randall Dowling. Mr. Dowling stated that paying employees late because of a holiday has been the county custom for 12 years and that because there were not many complaints that it was his opinion that this policy should not be changed…
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    • June 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      BOC hires former Gordon County manager, asks doubters to give him a chance
      Posted by Mike Buffington in County Government Archives, Top Stories & Breaking News
      Wednesday, November 27. 2013
      As expected, the Barrow County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night appointed Randall Dowling as the new county manager. Dowling worked in the same capacity for Gordon County for 11 years but was fired on Sept. 20 and given only until 3 p.m. that day to clean out his office.
      He told the Barrow BOC during his job interview that he was fired because of recent changes in the makeup of Gordon County’s board. Barrow County’s elected officials accepted his explanation.
      But neither the HR department, its contracted background company, nor any of the county’s elected officials made a serious effort to find out if that were true.
      BOC chairman Pat Graham did send the chairman of the Gordon County BOC an email on Nov. 21 asking for the “specifics about what led your Board to a unanimous vote to terminate his employment.”
      But Graham told chairman Becky Hood in the email that she would share with Barrow’s full board whatever information she provided and could not guarantee the information would be kept confidential.
      Graham sent the email from her iPhone but did not provide the phone number. And a Gordon County government source told the Barrow Journal that Hood didn’t believe Graham really wanted to know the facts, that she had asked only because the newspaper had raised the issue, and that Hood had been advised by the Gordon County attorney not to respond to the email.
      Tuesday night before the vote, Graham said county managers serve at the pleasure of the elected board and it is not uncommon for managers to be terminated without cause. She said she thinks that is the situation Dowling was in. He was terminated after he refused to resign.
      “The political wind perhaps blew in a different direction” in Gordon County, Graham said.
      She said his refusal to resign showed “strength of character and a willingness to stand up for what’s right.”
      She added: “I think those are traits that are admirable for anyone, whether it’s our staff or anyone else’s staff.”
      Other BOC members before the vote also endorsed Dowling’s selection, noting that the entire board had participated in the interviews of the final candidates. Most said they had received calls since the newspaper last week raised the issue of why Barrow County officials had not researched the reasons for Dowling’s termination.
      District 2 Commissioner Kenny Shook noted the “shelf life” of a county manager in Georgia typically is not very long. He echoed the chairman’s comment that that is sometimes due to “political winds” changing and quipped, “The shelf life of a commissioner may not be very long.”
      But he said he is “very satisfied” with the board’s choice of Dowling.
      “The important thing is he wants to be here,” Shook said. “He’s excited about it.”
      District 4 Commissioner Isaiah Berry said anytime someone spends 11 years on a job, “he must have been doing something right.”
      Berry said the public asked the BOC to get the most experienced person they could and the best person for the job.
      “This man did an outstanding job of bringing in stuff and showing us what he had done,” he said. “We think he would be an outstanding county manager.”
      Berry asked people who doubt the board’s choice to “give us and him an opportunity to see what happens.”
      District 5 Commissioner Billy Parks made the motion to approve the employment agreement to hire Dowling. District 6 Commissioner Ben Hendrix seconded the motion.
      Hendrix said that when Barrow County moved to a county-manager form of government in January, “we realized when we undertook this that there would be bumps in the road, and there have been.”
      But he said unanimous vote to hire Dowling should convey “we are collectively on board with this individual as our No. 1 choice to be county manager.”
      Hendrix said the BOC is solidly behind Dowling and wants to “give him room to hit the ground running and do the best job he can.”
      He acknowledged that the board couldn’t know for sure.
      “This is an unknown. Maybe a year from now we will look back and say we made a really good choice.”
      On the other hand, Hendrix said he is “100-percent confident” that Felts “vetted this individual to the utmost.”
      Felts said the recruitment process began the second week of September when Connell after only eight months in the position announced his resignation.
      The county received resume`s from 27 applicants, and Connell assisted the staff in narrowing the field to six. The BOC interviewed four of them and picked two finalists. The other finalist was Janeanne Allison, who was county manager in Habersham County until she was forced to resign in the summer.
      Felts said he used a private company called Laborchex to verify the finalists’ employment histories, educational accomplishments, driving records, credit histories and other records. The company also contacted the candidates’ references.
      Dowling’s references included members of previous boards but no current board members. The HR director in Gordon County told the newspaper that neither Laborchex nor Felts asked her the reasons for Dowling’s termination.
      The vote Tuesday night was 7-0. Dowling will join the staff on Monday, Dec. 2.
      Under the approved employment agreement, Barrow County will pay him $105,000, which is less than Connell was paid. If the BOC fires him without cause, he will be entitled to receive six months’ severance pay and insurance coverage. He received three months’ severance pay and benefits from Gordon County.

      • June 12, 2015 at 7:34 am

        Henry Springer !!! did you just reply to an Anonymous poster ??? Shame on you

  • June 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I offer the following excerpt not to be overally critical, but just for consideration when deciding on the best candidate for the city manager’s job of Port Orange . === hank
    …Drumm had communications issues, according to the evaluations, especially when it came to city employees and the public as a whole. He wasn’t getting out to meet enough people. The city’s relationship with Pasco County was troubled, at best…

    • June 11, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Thats what we need less communication. Already have that

    • June 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Jim Drumm likely saw the first cracks in his tenure as Zephyrhills city manager last July when councilmen Lance Smith and Ken Burgess both gave him low marks on their evaluations of his job performance.
      Zephyrhills city manager Jim Drumm goes over some last-minute details with city finance director Stacie Poppell ahead of a special city council meeting last week where Drumm’s severance package was discussed. (Courtesy of Michael Hinman)
      Drumm had communications issues, according to the evaluations, especially when it came to city employees and the public as a whole. He wasn’t getting out to meet enough people. The city’s relationship with Pasco County was troubled, at best.
      Yet Drumm wasn’t worried about his job. While he knew there was room for improvement in his own job performance, he received high marks from the three other council members. And as far as Drumm was concerned, there were nowhere near the four votes required to remove him, if that’s what Smith and Burgess were aiming for.
      That all changed, however, in March, when Drumm found himself fighting for his job — the voices of two councilmen suddenly gaining the power of the majority.
      Despite three legal opinions against him, Drumm maintains his position that no matter what his contract says, the city’s charter — the constitution of the local government — requires four votes to remove him.
      The security of that belief encouraged Drumm to move his family to Zephyrhills in the first place, where he spent $185,000 on a home in Silver Oaks. That was despite still owning a house he bought for $135,000 at the height of the housing boom in 2005 in his former town of High Springs.
      “I came here with a commitment,” Drumm told reporters after a special council meeting last week. “I wanted to do a good job, and apparently I did. The issues are not very clear, and I’m just surprised. What I’m getting is, ‘We don’t want to terminate you. We just don’t want to renew you.’”
      During that same meeting, called to negotiate a severance package for Drumm, only Councilman Kenneth Compton seemed willing to stand up for the embattled city manager. And that had obviously become an unpopular position, especially after Compton watched the one other council member who agreed with him, Jodi Wilkeson, lose re-election, most likely because of her support of Drumm.
      Wilkeson quietly supported Compton’s efforts last week, except this time from the audience instead of the dais.
      “We are looking at numbers, and to me, the numbers should reflect what has happened over the tenure of the city manager,” Compton said. “When the city manager walked in here, he walked into a million-dollar shortfall in the budget, and within a matter of months, he turned it into a surplus.”
      The city at the time was looking at layoffs to make up the budget shortfall in 2011, but instead Drumm filled the city’s contingency funds, not to the $300,000 or $500,000 it once contained, but instead to $1.5 million — and kept it there.
      “This is a separation, and it’s not a happy thing,” Compton said. “Something didn’t work out, but my suggestion is the numbers be looked at.”
      Alan Knight, the former high school football coach and educator who beat Wilkeson for his council seat, wasn’t focused on numbers. Instead, it was the three-year contract Drumm signed in 2011 set to expire May 18.
      “Looking back at my experience, when I was a school principal and given a two-year contract, that was it,” he said. “If I didn’t get renewed, I didn’t get all these other things.”
      Those things Drumm asked for included 20 weeks of severance pay, money for nearly 400 hours of “comp time” — hours worked above and beyond a standard work week without any pay — and for the city to continue paying premiums on the health insurance for an additional five months.
      The council balked on the 20 weeks of severance last week, offering just 13 instead. Yet, 20 weeks is a standard for city and county managers, the maximum set by state law, said Lynn Tipton, executive director of the Florida City and County Management Association, the state’s professional organization for municipal managers like Drumm.
      “It is recommended in light of the many costs a manager incurs in transition,” she said. In best-case scenarios, the hiring process for a city manager from the time an ad is placed for the job to signing the contract is four months. But that can sometimes go six months or even longer.
      “However, this is greatly complicated by election cycles,” Tipton said, adding that some municipalities might just hire an interim until after the next election.
      Drumm said he would likely seek unemployment insurance, but $275 a week is a far cry from $1,730 weekly. But he could have other income opportunities as well while he waits to find a new city manager job.
      “Some managers are fortunate to find interim work, teaching and consulting while they await the next management position,” Tipton said. “Others take part-time work where available.”
      The severance package proposed by the council last week would cost the city $54,000, but only a portion of that would actually represent cash in Drumm’s pocket. The rest are taxes and other costs the city would have to pay to part ways with him.
      Drumm was expected to step down from his position April 25 if he agreed to the lower separation terms offered by the city. He resigned on Friday, after reportedly agreeing to the severance package.
      The council approved the revised severance package 4-1, with Compton voting no. Just before the vote, Drumm did suggest that the lower payout may not be enough of an incentive for him to sign any agreement not to sue the city over the debacle, but the council voted their package in anyway.
      Published April 30, 2014

  • June 11, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Sources have informed us that the newly hired fire chief has been on the job for 6 months and still does not live in the city. Could it be that another city employee is going to collect a salary until the city finally realizes he has no plans to move here?

    • June 17, 2015 at 7:32 am

      What sources Jamie? The fire chief had an interim title until Feb of this year. There is no requirement for an interim department head to live in the city limits. So your source is wrong. The chief has until August to move to Port Orange.

  • June 11, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    FCCMA & ICMA affiliations more of the same old same old. Meet the new boss same as the old boss. Will they ever learn?

    • June 18, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Who do you think wrote the RFP for the city manager selection consultant up? That is exactly what she has been directed to do, which is to set the procuration criteria as ICMA FCCMA certification being desirable. This is because Green and others want one of these hacks that is trained in the art of political cover-ups, whitewashing, and pandering to special interest. If council was really serious about putting an end to this shameful paradigm they would have directed the city manager and the administrative services director to put in the RFP that they are not interested in any ICMA managers.
      I predict we will get an ICMA city manager and most of our top administrators in the future will also be certified managers most likely MIT’s Managers In Transition which were shit canned from prior assignments and hired by the new city manager to pay homage to the ICMA and perhaps win their prestigious Life Saver Award. These future hires will not only be ICMA MIT’s but they will have probably never applied for the positions and will be summoned here by the new city manager in lieu of legitimate candidates that follow the civil service procedures in applying. This will be the same shit that Kisela and Harden has done and Port Orange will continue to be known as the most corrupt city in central Florida.

  • June 20, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Better watch out you fellows on the council. Anyone who would be crazy enough to apply for a job as City Manager of Port Orange would need to have his head examined.. Also I believe you are not going to get anyone worthwhile for the paltry salary being offered, especially since there are many inferior people now employed who would be making almost as much as the manager.
    These four candidates are obviously losers who are desperately trying to find another job compliments of the ICMA. Wake up Council…you’re looking in the wrong place for a new manager.
    As an afterthought, why was the Interim C/M allowed to put in place new management staff? That should have been up to the the new C/M to do the selection of his own staff. From what I see Harden selected people with baggage trailing along behind them…just like himself.


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