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Finalist for Dade City manager withdraws
The two remaining applicants both have experience in small Florida city administration.
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS, Times Staff Writer
Published November 21, 2007
DADE CITY - It's not easy finding a city manager.
Matthew Brock, one of Dade City's three finalists for the position, withdrew his application Monday morning.
"Please do not consider me as a candidate any longer," he wrote in an e-mail to the city.
Brock, who is not related to Dade City Mayor Hutch Brock, is currently the town manager of Grant-Valkaria on the east coast. He wrote in his e-mail that he felt that he should stay at least two years in his position, a guideline in the International City/County Management Association's code of ethics.
"Did he know the oath before he put his resume in?" said Commissioner Steve Van Gorden.
Brock did not want to speak to a reporter Tuesday afternoon.
This isn't the first time a candidate has bailed on Dade City.
Richard Reade was offered the job in May but declined it when he could not agree on a contract with the city. In August, Jim Gleason withdrew his application, saying the pay range was too low for him.
Brock had made a good impression on several city officials.
Commissioner Scott Black talked to Brock at several meetings for municipal employees.
"I felt like he'd be a good fit for us," Black said.
Brock's resume boasted several years of city management experience in Dundee and Luray, Va. He also spent two years as a Live Oak city administrator.
In Dade City's three attempts to find a manager, Administrative Services Director Laura Beagles has communicated with all the candidates via e-mail and over the phone.
"Before I even meet these people I form a relationship with them," she said.
Brock struck her as a good listener. He also had experience with some of the issues facing Dade City, including infrastructure expansion, Beagles said.
The five city commissioners narrowed down 19 applicants to three at the last commission meeting. The remaining applicants are Bruce Behrens, former city manager of Minneola, and Robert Mearns, former city manager of Fernandina Beach.
Both Mearns and Behrens have experience that matches the city's needs, Beagles said.
Mearns has worked in a city that honors its historic heritage. Behrens has worked in an area experiencing tremendous growth, much like the kind Dade City hopes for.