By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PORT ORANGE - Wanted: A new city manager.
City leaders recently authorized staff to release a job announcement for the city manager position to recruit candidates for a successor to the outgoing Ken Parker, who plans to retire Feb. 28 after 29 years of executive leadership in the community.
After discussions at a recent council meeting, city council members settled on a salary range for the new manager position. The new city manager's compensation package, including salary and benefits, will range between $120,000 and $160,000, depending on qualifications and experience. Mr. Parker's current salary is $119,558.
Due to the city's ongoing pension issues, Councilman Dennis Kennedy asked his peers to "stand firm" on offering a defined contribution pension such as a 401k for the new city manager instead of a defined benefit pension.
In a defined contribution pension, money is put into an investment fund and the amount a retiree will receive in benefits depends on the performance of those investments. Defined benefit pensions involve an employee receiving a set amount of money per month upon retirement. Mr. Parker has a defined benefit pension and will receive nearly $6,000 a month from the city after he retires, according to Human Resources officials.
According to the job announcement, city manager candidates must have a bachelor's degree in public or business administration and a minimum of five years experience as city or county manager in a city or county of comparable size. Experience should include "the full range of municipal services" not limited to but including finance, labor relations, economic development and redevelopment, the application states.
At the insistence of local business owner and city council candidate Ted Noftall, that description was amended to allow candidates with equivalent private sector experience to be included for consideration.
"It allows someone who, say, ran a large utility, to apply for it," Councilman Bob Ford said. "That keeps it open."
The city manager is required to live in Port Orange. Mr. Noftall also asked if the job requirements could state the position is also open to current city employees, but Mr. Parker said that would give the impression that city leaders are "pre-selecting" their candidate.
"If you're pre-selecting, you might as well not go through the advertisement process," Mr. Parker said.
Now that the salary range and details of the job announcement have been completed, the announcement will be posted to the city's website this week. Candidates have until Sept. 30 to submit their resumes to city staff.
A citizens committee will review applicants between Oct. 1 and Nov. 16, and interviews with the finalists are scheduled for Dec. 10 and Dec. 14. The new city manager will be selected on Dec. 21 and will begin work on March 1 following Mr. Parker's retirement.