Chosen candidate tops the list of 124 hopefuls
By Meagan McGone
COCOA BEACH - Following a three-month process, the Cocoa Beach City Commission has selected a new city manager.
Commissioners unanimously nominated 42-year-old Robert Majka, the current assistant county manager for Bay County, Fla., to replace Chuck Billias, who will retire his position as city manager after serving Cocoa Beach for more than 14 years.
Cocoa Beach Mayor Skip Beeler said Mr. Majka stood out from the other candidates because he had a wide variety of experience in various areas that were issues for Cocoa Beach. Mayor Beeler said commissioners were looking for someone with superior communication skills, a strong financial background and an understanding of coastal issues, all of which Mr. Majka possesses.
"I think Mr. Majka will bring a lot of energy and good ideas to the city and work hard with all the stakeholders in Cocoa Beach," Mayor Beeler said.
Mr. Majka topped the list of hopefuls, which reached 124 individuals and included candidates from all over the United States, as well as South Korea and Canada.
"I am very excited and humbled that I was selected as the finalist by the city commission, and I am eager to become part of the community," Mr. Majka said in an email.
Mr. Majka started his career in local government as a firefighter for Panama City in 1989. He has since served Bay County in various roles: as the hazardous materials program manager, the emergency management director, the chief of emergency services and ultimately, as the assistant county manager.
He listed some of his significant accomplishments on his resume, which include preparing and managing conservative budgets and leading a team that successfully recovered 100 percent of the revenue expended to respond to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
On his resume, he stated that he is an "action-driven senior government executive with 23 years of progressive experience."
Mr. Majka earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Phoenix and is pursuing his Master of Business Administration through an online program at Troy University in Alabama.
Currently, the city is negotiating a contract for Mr. Majka's employment. Once both sides agree on terms near the month's end, Mr. Majka is set to begin work on Oct. 15, according to the city's recruitment schedule.
"I envision spending the first several months working to get to know the commission members, the staff and the community to gain as much perspective as possible to make sure I have a good understanding of the priorities and opportunities facing the community, while managing the day-to-day operations of the city," he said.
He said he was attracted to the position because it is a chance for professional advancement.
"Cocoa Beach is a great coastal community with a lot of similar opportunities to the Panama City Beach area of Bay County," he said.
Mr. Majka's father attended Brevard Engineering College, now known as Florida Tech, in the 1960s. Additionally, his girlfriend was born and raised in Brevard. The area's offerings also align with many of his interests, which include fishing, going to the beach and golfing, as well as spending time with his family, he said.