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Five are up for Dunedin city manager

After a 10-month search for the perfect candidate, Dunedin has selected five finalists for its city manager position. Two of the five candidates already hold city manager positions in Pinellas, meaning Dunedin's gain could be a loss for one of its neighbors.

By CRISTINA SILVA and SHEELA RAMAN
Published October 26, 2006


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DUNEDIN - After a 10-month search for the perfect candidate, Dunedin has selected five finalists for its city manager position.

Two of the five candidates already hold city manager positions in Pinellas, meaning Dunedin's gain could be a loss for one of its neighbors.

Jill Silverboard, city manager of Madeira Beach, and Mike Bonfield, city manager of St. Pete Beach, were among a group of candidates contacted by Dunedin's search committee and asked to apply, said Dunedin Mayor Robert Hackworth.

The other finalists are:

- Robert Bocwinski, former village administrator for Lincolnwood, Ill., with a population of about 12,000.

- Robert DiSpirito, city manager of Oberlin, Ohio, with a population of about 8,000.

- Richard Finn, former city manager of Tacoma Park, Md., with a population of about 17,000.

Dunedin has been hunting for a city manager since John Lawrence, who held the title for 21 years, retired in January. The city restarted its search this summer after commissioners were underwhelmed by the results of an initial search.

Dunedin, with its nearly 36,000 residents, would be a greater responsibility for all of the latest candidates.

St. Pete Beach has about 10,000 residents. Madeira Beach has nearly 5,000.

Each candidate will meet individually with Hackworth and each of the city's four commissioners Friday morning. A public interview will be held at Dunedin City Hall on Friday afternoon.

Bonfield, who has been St. Pete Beach city manager for five years, discounted rumors that he was trying to leave because of the tough political environment that has developed in recent years. Some residents have criticized city officials for supporting a redevelopment plan that would allow for taller buildings along Gulf Boulevard.

"It really is more about the opportunities in Dunedin than what is going on in St. Pete Beach," said Bonfield, who was previously city manager of Madeira Beach.

Silverboard said she was attracted to Dunedin because it is a larger city.

"It is a wonderful professional opportunity that has nothing to do with my dissatisfaction at Madeira Beach," she said. "I thought it was an opportunity that at least merited my participation in the process."

Sheela Raman can be reached at 445-4158 or sraman@sptimes.com Cristina Silva can be reached at 893-8846 or csilva@sptimes.com.

[Last modified October 26, 2006, 07:22:32]


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