The North Bay Village Commission publicly interviewed two finalists for its’ City Manager position last week.
The village is looking to fill the vacant lead administrator spot since firing their last manager in April.
Finalists Frank Bocanegra and Colin Donnelly were each given half an hour to answer questions from the dais. Both praised the transparency their public interviews represented even in the face of a mostly empty elementary school cafeteria, where the village have held their meetings since city hall came down with a sick-building syndrome.
Bocanegra has spent over three decades in law enforcement, he recently picked up a law degree and is working as a public defender for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida ,in addition to running his own law practice. His experience as a public administrator comes by way of his year and a half as a city manager in Miami Lakes. According to his application package, he left that position to retire and take advantage of a D.R.O.P. Pension plan.
While only having a year and a half experience running a city might raise some flags, Bocanegra embraced it by up-playing his law enforcement experience, and making it necessary to a manager.
“Two Important things citizens care about: one is their safety, and one is their money,” said Bocanegra.
He sited the law enforcement experience as the tiebreaker between him and Donnelly.
As an administrator he promised to be more efficient without cutting the level of service. He would also open dialog with all his employees to see what concerns them.
“My goal is to create a work environment where people like to come into work,” said Bocanegra.
Donnelly has been the the Assistant City Manager in Dania Beach since late 2006. Before that he served as the top administrator for the Town of Newton in New Jersey for roughly three years before his firing. Donnelly attributed his firing to a “change of political leadership” in his application package.
Donnelly grasped to his long history of work within an administrator position in small cities. He said he understood small cities and their inherent problems like delayed infrastructure.
“I understand that process to move development forward,” he said.
The Dania Beach Assistant Manager rattled off what an administrator would need to expect to properly oversee a redevelopment, such as a lengthy process, the ability to analyze a deal, and many tedious attention to details that only come with experience.
“I have a good understanding of what the city needs to work out with the developer.”
After the candidates finished their questions, most on the NBV Commission were content to not make a ruling until a special June 17 meeting, but Commissioner Wendy Duval made a motion to open up the search.
There was some confusion on the dais as to what they were allowed to do or not do at this particular meeting, leading to the legal staff to over explain what was and wasn’t allowed in that particular meeting.
In the end the motion was withdrawn, and the meeting ended with no further action. As of press time, it appeared the special June 17 meeting had been canceled.