News: Unsatisfied Commission Means City Manager Hunt Churns On

 The Miami Beach City Commission, meeting as the Committee of the Whole, convened in the city manager’s conference room during the lunch recess of its Oct. 24 regular Commission meeting.

 The mayor and commissioners discussed the resumes submitted for the city managership. SunPost correspondent Frank Del Vecchio provided this exclusive report of their discussion:

 Meeting opened at 4:58 p.m. by Mayor Matti Bower.  Present:  Commissioners Jorge Exposito, Michael Gongora, Jerry Libbin, Ed Tobin, Deede Weithorn, and Jonah Wolfson.

 Also present: Renee Narloch of search firm Bob Murray & Associates, Interim City Manager Kathie Brooks, City Attorney Jose Smith, and ten members of the general public.

 Narloch reported that the manager position was listed with the Florida League of Cities, the International City Managers Association, Executive Searches, Inc., and Business Week, and was well advertised.  Information and brochures, she added, were sent to 150 individuals who were thought to be “the top managers in the nation.”

 Coastal communities on both the East and West coasts (populations of over 100,000) were contacted.

 Sixty applications were received. Narloch said she conducted preliminary interviews with ten candidates and narrowed the selection down to 6.

 Said she: “We did not check references” and “I’ve met with one candidate (from Broward County).”

 “There are many reasons [why someone does or does not apply],” Narloch said, “but I did expect a larger pool of candidates.”

 Narloch listed the criteria she was looking for in prospective candidates: Strong negotiation skills (i.e., with unions); with what size budget has each had prior experience; diversity; capital development; management style; how would one build a team; prior experience with communities with historic preservation and tourism issues; salary requirements; commitment to the job if hired; and, any potential embarrassments in one’s background?

 Regarding former Southwest Ranches, Fla., town administrator and applicant Kenneth Fields, Narloch said he had a controversy in his last two jobs and said she would like to investigate further.

 About the remaining four candidates, from an initially recommended list of 6, she said:

 – Monica Cepero [assistant to the Broward County manager]: “has never been a city manager.”

 – Robert Frank [Ocoee, Fla., city manager]: “It would be a step up for him, from his small city experience.”

 – Michael McNees [COO, USA Track & Field]: “an avid runner.  It was an opportunity for him.”

 – Steven Alexander: “Was an assistant county administrator in Broward. Would be a different environment here, but I see some potential.”

 TOBIN:  How many applicants responded?

 NARLOCH:  150.

 LIBBIN:  Is there anything else you might have done?

 NARLOCH:  Timing is critical [i.e., for an applicant].  If we opened up [the search] another thirty days, some others might apply.  Also, [the cloud hanging over the process is the question] “Is there a preselected internal candidate?”

 “Now it’s out in the open,” Narloch followed up. “Everyone can see.  There is no insider.

 “I’m not getting any negative feedback,” she added. “It’s all about timing.”

 NARLOCH: Right now, the candidates are checking out the city and the City Commission.  They’re reading the budget on line and watching replays of City Commission meetings.

 [In answer to a question]:  You could negotiate with the three.  You could leave the announcement open until December 1.

 EXPOSITO:  What do you recommend?

 NARLOCH:  It takes more recruitment.

 WOLFSON:  The [size of] the list is unacceptable. Kathie [Brooks] is phenomenal.

 BROOKS [interrupting and shaking head “no”]: I’m interim.

GONGORA:  Leave it open thirty more days.

 WOLFSON:  Why not advertise in The Economist, The New York Times?

 WEITHORN:  Some of the resumes we got for the position of interim city manager were better than anything on this list.  Why didn’t they apply?

 NARLOCH:  The major question is: “Does the interim have an inside track?”

 LIBBIN:  Do due diligence on the four, while keeping [the search] open.

 WOLFSON:  I’d rather stick with the interim for four to 6 months versus settling for less.

 WEITHORN:  Why did you recommend only six?

 NARLOCH:  I focused on those with city manager (vs. private sector) experience.  Several commissioners wanted someone who understood city management [a very small pool]; someone with a big company background; someone with union negotiation experience.

 TOBIN:  This process is a failure.  We need another recruiter.  If this was a private company, [recruitment firm principal] Bob Murray would now be bussing tables.  We need to contact recruiters who will bring in candidates. If we pick the candidate, the recruiter gets a commission.  If not, the recruiter gets nothing.  The commission could be 10%, 20%, 30% of the salary.  If we don’t want to pay this, we don’t pick the candidate the recruiter brings in.

 LIBBIN:  I’m O.K. with checking out the four, and recruiting more.

 Gongora then made a motion to do both: Have the search firm keep looking and allow Tobin to talk to other recruiters.

 A discussion ensued.

 BOWER: No, we can’t do it that way, there has to be a legal process.  Tobin can’t just go out and get a recruiter.

 City Attorney Smith disclosed that there were many letters of invitation sent out (perhaps a hundred).  Tobin asked for the list.

 TOBIN: I’ll look at the list and work off that list.  Would that make it legal?

 SMITH: Yes.

 The Commission then voted to direct the search firm to continue its search, then report to the Commission on Dec. 1, prior to their Dec. 12 Commission meeting.

 Tobin, at the same time, will get a list of search firms which the city had previously invited to recruit on its behalf. He will review the list and make calls at his discretion. In the meantime, Interim Manager Brooks stays put as the city’s top administrator.

 No public comment was taken as the mayor said they were running too late to hear from any of those present.


Tallahassee-based search firm Bob Murray & Associates, hired by the City of Miami Beach to recruit its next city manager, heard from 60 applicants, local and nationwide, and recently winnowed the list down to these four recommended candidates:


 Steven Alexander, president, Alexander Global Communications; former town manager, Town of Cutler Bay, Fla.; former village manager, Village of El Portal, Fla.

Monica Cepero, assistant to the county administrator, Broward County

 Robert Frank, city manager, City of Ocoee, Fla.

 Michael McNees, former COO and interim CEO, USA Track and Field, Indianapolis, Ind.; former city manager, City of Sarasota


 Mark Averbeck, deputy sheriff, San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department

 Kelvin Baker, Sr., city manager, City of Opa-Locka; former city manager, City of North Miami Beach

 Robert Bartolotta, former city manager, City of Sarasota; former town manager, Town of Jupiter, Fla.

 Ed Beasley, III, city manager, City of Glendale, Ariz.

 Roxane Benoit, assistant math teacher, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, La.

 Lyndon Bonner, city manager, City of North Miami Beach

 Terrell Brannon, former facilities instructor, Florida Department of Education

 Frederick Carr, former township administrator, Bloomfield Township, N.J.

Tiffany Cheuvront, executive vice president of operations, Williamson County Association of Realtors, Franklin, Tenn.

 Andrea Colon Vazquez, former lead manufacturing operator, Baxter HealthCare, Aibonito, Puerto Rico

 William Cooper, former city manager, City of Hamtramck, Mich.

 Kenneth Crump, program manager, Complete Signs, LLC, Dothan, Alab.

 George Ducas, architect, Irving, Tex.

 Michele Ennis, director of human resources, Wicomico County, Md.

 Daniel Faulkner, downtown development chair, City of Watervliet, Mich.; president, Education On Wheels, Inc., Watervliet, Mich.

 John Feigerle, AFCS operator, U.S. Postal Service, Montrose, Calif.

 Kenneth Fields, former town administrator, Town of Southwest Ranches, Fla.

 Jeffery Fobbe, senior program manager, U.S. Postal Service, Kearneysville, W.Va.

 Danny George, president/CEO, Oklahoma Group, Inc., Clinton, Okla.; former Oklahoma state representative

Manuel Gonzalez, CEO, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Irving, Tex.

Alana Green, community development supervisor, City of St. Louis, Mo.

Stephanie Grindell, engineer-in-charge, Tamayo Engineering, Miami; former director of public works, City of Miami

 Iesha Henry, director of human resources, WTTG/WDCA and WUTB-FOX TV stations, Rockville, Md.

Thomas Henry, founder, W3 Arbitration, West Covina, Calif.

Thomas Henshaw, senior manager, Jersey Professional Management, Cranford, N.J.; former administrator, City of Egg Harbor City, N.J.

Larry Hochendoner, senior partner, World Health Care Infrastructures, Dauphin, Pa.

Jon Jacobs, self-employed consultant, Miami

Joaquin Jimenez, controller, J.R. Financial Services, Miami

Gary King, former city manager, City of Cape Coral, Fla.

Victor Langford, director of government affairs and chief of staff, Office of the CEO, Harris County Housing Authority, Houston, Tex.

David Lederman, attorney, vice president of planning and zoning, Fischer Homes/Fischer Development Co., Cincinnati, Ohio

George Lloyd, business analyst/consultant, Bellashon Consulting Group, Spring, Tex.

Peter Luria, CEO/president, Savannah Jewelry Company, Miami Beach; president/COO, Luria & Son, Inc., Miami

Emanuel Mayer, president, Mayer Development Group, Inc., Miami Beach; former special assistant to the city manager, City of Miami Beach

Ricardo Mendez-Saldivia, COO, City of Harrisburg, Pa.; former chief administrative officer, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hollywood, Fla.

Rey Mosqueda, self-employed human resources advisor, Chula Vista, Calif; former field operations manager and federal project director, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Michael Nagy, former city manager, City of Paris, Ky.; City of Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Marine City, Mich.

Nagantharan Naidu, CEO, Saira Infrastructure & Civil Engineering Co., Trinidad & Tobago

Dominic Ochei, former financial management advisor, Winrock Bridge Program, South Sudan; former deputy team leader, Good Governance Program, Baghdad Region, Iraq

James Palenick, interim town manager, Town of Dallas, N.C.; former city manager, City of Gastonia, N.C.

Jim Pascale, township administrator (since 1983), Princeton Township, N.J.

Vincent Passariello, airport manager and transportation advisor, City of Covington, Ga.; former county engineer, Newton County, Ga.

Stephen Patrick, former investigative assistant, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Salt Lake City, Utah

Sergio Purrinos, president/CEO, City Consulting, Inc., Miami Beach; former city manager, City of Homestead and City of Doral.

Royde Ramirez, former field credit manager, All Interior Supply, Hialeah

Camella Rhone, consultant, CARICOM Caribbean Community; former official, Jamaican Ministry of Commerce

David Rivera, senior director/controller, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Inc., New York, N.Y.; former budget analyst, New York City Comptroller’s Office

 Hector Rivera, Sr., adjunct professor, Palm Beach State College; former assistant city manager, City of Cape Coral, Fla.

Alex Sandoval, president/CEO, Pro Win Policy, Management & Communications, Sacrameno, Calif.

Steven Sims, director, Office of Business Development, Greater Cleveland [Ohio] Regional Transit Authority; former director, economic development department, City of Cleveland, Ohio

Billy Szabo, human resources generalist, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y

Charles Towsley, president & CEO, Maritime Directions Management Corp., Miami Beach; president, Sante Shipping Lines, Inc., Miami; former port director, Port of Miami-Dade; former managing director, Tampa Port Authority

Edward Troy, treasurer & CFO, County of Burlington, N.J.; former director of finance/comptroller, Louisiana Recovery Office (in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina)

Elbert Waters, former director, Broward Service Center, South Florida Water Management District; former assistant city administrator, City of West Palm Beach

David Webb, former principal government contract consultant, D.Q. Consulting, Clearfield, Utah

Claudia Williams, president, Jani-Trol, Inc., Patton, Calif.

– Compiled by the SunPost’s Charles Branham-Bailey


  1. jimpascale says:

    Ha! What a bunch of clowns. I pity the poor residents of Miami Beach.

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