By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE - The Fort Pierce City Commission voted to use the search firm Colin Baenziger and Associates to find candidates for the city manager position that was previously held by David Recor, but the motion passed with only a 3-2 vote.
The cost for the search firm is estimated to be $21,500.
Mr. Recor resigned from his position at the beginning of May, and has since begun a new job as the city manager of Ocean City, Md. He was officially sworn in the week of June 14.
After Mr. Recor's resignation, Nick Mimms, the city's public works director, was named interim city manager by a unanimous vote of the city commission.
Commissioner Reginald Sessions pulled the agenda item about the search firm from the consent agenda, and asked the commissioners to consider officially making Mr. Mimms the city manager.
"I would like to appeal to you to take into consideration that I would at this point, instead of spending $21,500, consider our interim city manager to be placed as our new city manager," Commissioner Sessions said.
He suggested Mr. Mimms previous position of public works director be frozen and not filled, and Mr. Mimms be offered a short-term contract.
"If it doesn't work out, he can go back to the position that hasn't been filled," he said. "I think the timing is right."
Commissioner Thomas Perona said he is not one to get into a discussion about the interim manager, and that he was at the meeting to approve a contract on the consent agenda.
"I think he's doing a great job," Commissioner Perona said. "But I think we owe it the citizens of this community, and ourselves, to do a nationwide search. I think it's important to do everything we can to try to make the best decision."
Commissioner Perona then made the motion to accept the contract for the search firm, and said the issues that the city faces requires a special kind of person.
"I'm not going to support the motion, because I feel deep down in my heart that we owe the public a lot," Commissioner Sessions said. "I've hired a lot of city managers. I believe that person is familiar with Fort Pierce, who knows it inside and out. We know what we've got here."
Commissioner Edward Becht, Commissioner Perona and Mayor Robert Benton voted to approve the contract for the search firm. Commissioner Rufus Alexander and Commissioner Sessions voted against it.
According to the search firm's website, the starting salary for the city's manager position is between $125,000 and $150,000. Potential applicants will be screened by the company between July 7 and Aug. 14, with the finalist interviews scheduled for Aug. 24 and 25. A selection of the next manager, according to the website, is to be made on Aug. 27.