Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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New city manager for Boynton Beach may be in office by December



BOYNTON BEACH — The hiring of a new city manager in Boynton Beach may be around six months away, according to a proposed timeline.

A nationwide search that will be directed by the City Commission is aimed at replacing Lori LaVerriere, who was fired April 19 by the five-person board. A week later, Fire Chief Jim Stables was appointed by the commission to serve as interim city manager.

At its June 7 meeting, the commission directed Julie Oldbury, the city’s human resources director, to advertise the job opening.

During the meeting, Oldbury presented commissioners with a comprehensive series of steps in the selection process that began with developing a job description and has moved on to posting the opening for 30 days on a variety of platforms, including social-media sites, online search engines and trade publications.

“I want to make sure we proceed ASAP,” Mayor Ty Penserga said.

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Interviews with finalists may start in October

The plan calls for applicants to be reviewed and ranked by human resources and commissioners, with the top 10 candidates advancing to phone interviews with commissioners in mid-September. Five finalists would be chosen and hold in-person interviews with the board into mid-October.

Boynton Beach interim city manager Jim Stables

A new city manager, according to the timeline, would be selected in early November on condition the candidate passes a comprehensive background check. The hiring would be made official at the Dec. 6 City Commission meeting.

At least that’s the suggested plan.

Penserga said the timeline is only a “proposal” and the commission has not yet decided how the hiring process will proceed. “All we have agreed on is, post (the job) and let’s see what we get,” Penserga said, adding his intention is to be “thorough” but come to a “swift decision.”

The commission chose to bypass hiring an executive search agency and find a city manager on its own.

Lake Worth Beach paid $26,500 last year to Daytona Shores-based Colin Baenziger and Associates to lead a search that resulted in the hiring of Carmen Davis.

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Penserga and the commission have agreed to consider partnering with a recruiting firm if their own search proves inadequate. Oldbury was asked to return in a month to provide an update on applications.

“We don’t want to pay to do this if we can do this ourselves,” Penserga said. “We might get plenty of candidates without a third party.”

A typical city manager lasts in the job about three to six years, according to Villanova University’s Department of Public Administration.

Issues await whomever is hired as manager

LaVerriere remained much longer than that. She was hired in December 2012 and stayed in the position until her surprise exit during the April 19 City Commission meeting. A request by incoming Commissioner Thomas Turkin to review LaVerriere’s tenure quickly escalated into a discussion about terminating her employment.

The commission voted 4-1 to fire LaVerriere.

Lori LaVerriere, Boynton Beach's former city manager, holds a flag during a topping out ceremony for the City Hall in October 2019. She held office for more than nine years before being dismissed in April.

Stables, who beat out two other candidates for the interim position, said last month he hadn’t decided whether to apply for the permanent job. Boynton Beach’s fire chief since January 2021, Stables’ salary was raised last month to $200,000 from the $148,000 he was earning by running the fire department.

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Whoever the new city manager might be will have to deal with a host of sensitive issues, including a possible merger between city police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the fate of a city police officer involved in the death of 13-year-old Stanley Davis III and the stalled Town Square development project.

The incoming city manager will also be tasked with naming permanent police and fire chiefs. Both departments are being run by interim leaders following the resignation of Police Chief Michael Gregory and Stables’ move into the city manager’s office.

Joseph DeGiulio is serving as interim police chief while Hugh Bruder, the former deputy fire chief, is running the fire department.

Jorge Milian is a journalist covering Boynton Beach and Lake Worth Beach at The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at Caneswatch. Help support our work: Subscribe today.

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