Manager will be from city

The board decides to stay with its plan of choosing a new leader from City Hall ranks.

By KAMEEL STANLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published July 4, 2007

LARGO - City Commissioners agreed Tuesday to stick to their original plan to hire the next city manager from inside City Hall.

During a special work session, commissioners said they were fine with choosing between acting City Manager Norton "Mac" Craig and Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert.

The decision means commissioners will vote for one of the men during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday before an already scheduled workshop.

Commissioners had planned to appoint a new manager Tuesday, but postponed their decision after Mayor Pat Gerard said she got wind that some officials were having second thoughts about the process.

"We're all comfortable with just staying in-house, " said Commissioner Gigi Arntzen. "I'm very happy with the process and the way it's going to continue."

Gerard said she received phone calls within the last two weeks claiming that some people still wanted to consider a national search.

Before going any further, the mayor said she wanted to make sure everyone was committed to the internal search.

"Maybe it was just a misunderstanding on someone's part, " said Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier, who also reported getting a call.

At the meeting, no commissioner expressed a desire to consider outside candidates.

Commissioner Gay Gentry said she would be open to the idea in the future, but was fine with the original process for this search.

"I made my decision back in February that it was going to be between the two gentlemen, " she said.

The city's manager position has been vacant since Steve Stanton was fired in March, shortly after announcing his plans to begin the transition to becoming a woman. Stanton has since done so and uses the name Susan Stanton.

Both Craig and Schubert expressed interest in the job and submitted resumes in June. This past week, they met with commissioners in one-on-one interviews.

At next week's vote, officials will use paper ballots to choose one of the candidates. Under the city's charter, the new manager must receive at least five votes.

After someone is chosen, contract negotiations will begin.

"It is our greatest hope that whomever we choose, that the other stay on also, " said Commissioner Rodney Woods. "They are both important and valuable."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or 445-4158.