One of the first moves of Fernandina Beach’s citizen’s advisory committee on the City Manager search was to consider a motion to advocate for the old City Manager to have his job back.
“I personally think that … I would like to make a motion that we ask the City Commission to reconsider hiring back Dale Martin,” City Manager Search Committee Chair Tim Poynter said this week.
“The reason why I’m asking for this is because I have seen, listened to, talked to an enormous amount of people. What I keep hearing is, ‘We want the same kind of expertise as Dale Martin has, we just don’t want Dale Martin.’ I think that it’s going to save the city an awful lot of money to reinstate this person.”
Committee member Steve Simmons called it a real opportunity to bring in the right person, regardless of their previous experience managing municipal governments.
“If there were a lot of people that said we need to rehire Dale, but yet there’s a lot that says no, why don’t we dissect that and see what they like best of what he was doing, and make sure that we include that in the next person that we hire, in addition to the other qualities (the candidate) might have that we haven’t even thought about that would be a complement to what we’re trying to accomplish here in Fernandina, and move forward?” Simmons said.
He added that it would be difficult for the city to reach back to Martin, considering everything that’s already transpired. Poynter noted he never heard a proper explanation of why Martin was fired. He suggested Commissioners have a frank discussion about it so the city doesn’t make the same mistake twice, whatever that mistake was.
Other members of the committee agreed they should learn from what went down with the Martin firing, but that the door is closed on him coming back and the panel should move forward with looking for someone new.
With that issue settled, the search for a new City Manager continues as the search committee works with a private search firm to generate candidates and thereafter narrow that list. But exactly how the whole process works hasn’t been abundantly clear since City Commissioners terminated the employment of Martin in February.
“(Colin Baenziger and Associates) will come up with (a number of) candidates that they think would be potentially worthy candidates for this,” Poynter said. “We will have a public meeting where all of this will be discussed. We will then narrow down — right now I’m saying five — so everyone will know the five that we chose, and why we chose the five.”
Those names would then go to the City Commission for consideration.