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List narrowed for city manager slot
A slate of 16 candidates will be winnowed to five but some commissioners aren't happy.
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS and MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published July 11, 2007
DADE CITY -- Dade City commissioners decided Tuesday night to narrow down the 16 city manager applicants to five and consider them at the next meeting.
In May, the commissioners offered the job to Richard Reade, 36, the former city manager of Davenport. But Mayor Hutch Brock could not agree on a contract with Reade, who sought extra benefits including family medical coverage and an inflated contribution to his retirement plan.
Brock announced Tuesday that he spoke to Reade the day before.
"He wants to be reconsidered," said Brock. "He could essentially live within the contract presented to him."
Commissioners were not happy with this news.
"I think it's ridiculous," said Commissioner Steve Van Gorden.
"I think it's almost inconsiderate," said Commissioner Camille Hernandez.
Thirteen people applied for the job since the city re-advertised the position two weeks ago.
Commissioners will also consider people who applied the first time around, including James Gallagher, recently the town manager of Dundee and the second choice behind Reade.
Harold Sample, the city manager since 2003, left the position in June to serve as vice president of development at the Dade City Business Center.
The commission will meet again in two weeks.
In other news, the commission:
- Approved a 10-year, $1.67-million contract with Triton Water Technologies of Tampa to upgrade the city's water meters to an automated reading system that uses radio signals.
Residential customers will see a fee - less than $1.50 - added to their monthly bills for the upgrade.
- Awarded a $571,000 contract to Marlon Dunn Contracting of Plant City to add and repair piping along Howard Avenue to ease chronic drainage problems, and a $625,000 contract to RTD Construction of Zephyrhills for additions to the wastewater treatment plant. Much of the projects are covered by federal grant money, with the city providing a $350,000 match from its Penny for Pasco reserves.
- Approved the $91,000 purchase of a quarter-acre vacant lot next to the Police Department on Pasco Avenue. The land is currently needed for parking and in the future for expansion of the police station and the money will come from city reserves.
- Commissioners voted 3-2 to retain Sample as a consultant to the city while they work to find a new city manager.
Hernandez voted against Sample's contract services. She said that events had taken place in the past 10 days that made her reconsider the contract appointment - but would not elaborate on what those events were. Commissioner Eunice Penix also voted no, but did so without comment.
- After the meeting, a group gathered behind City Hall and Hernandez said she was upset about how some longtime city employees were being treated. With that, Dade City Police Chief Phillip Thompson turned to a reporter and said that Sample had asked him to retire because Thompson has Parkinson's disease. Thompson takes medication to calm the shaking in his left hand and said he was diagnosed with the disease three years ago.
"My argument would be that I'm an administrator and don't work the streets," said Thompson, who turns 55 this month and would be eligible for retirement. He added that he is right-handed.
Thompson would not say when Sample approached him. Hernandez did not say if that event inspired her vote against Sample's consultant services.
Sample said he did approach Thompson and said it was in the "best interest" of the city that he retire.
"However, we agreed that we are still in discussion on issues," Sample said.
"I do not wish to comment further ... I thought we had an understanding that we were still in discussion ... There is more background on this that I do not choose to discuss at this time," he said.