HIGH SPRINGS – Major decisions are up for consideration during a Feb. 9 High Springs workshop and commission meeting.
During the workshop, which begins at 5:30 p.m., commissioners are to discuss how to proceed with the city manager hiring process. During the regular meeting at 6:30, commissioners may consider appointing someone to fill the seat vacated last week by Commissioner Eric May. Also up for a vote are proposed budget amendments.
Although it is uncertain what commissioners will do with the city manager position, two commissioners have previously voted to appoint Interim City Manager Jeri Langman to take over the post permanently.
Of the five candidates picked by commissioners to be on the final list, W.D. Higginbotham, Jr. is apparently the only candidate in the running for the city manager job. Higginbotham was a city manager for Gainesville during the 1980s. Most of the other would-be candidates bowed out after commissioners said they wanted someone who would be willing to assume the role without a severance package and without travel expenses.
During a January meeting, Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas and Commissioner Linda Gestrin attempted to name Langman to the permanent job. Commissioner Sue Weller and May opposed the measure and it ultimately failed when Mayor Dean Davis said he was in opposition because he didn’t like the city’s form of government.
At a budget workshop on Feb. 2, the commission considered cutting the available salary for a new city manager. But after Weller voiced opposition, Barnas said the budget reduction could wait until the Feb. 9 workshop, when commissioners decide how to proceed with the city manager position. During the commission meeting immediately following the workshop, commissioners could appoint Langman to be the permanent city manager.
The commission could also appoint an interim commissioner to fill the vacancy in Seat 5 left by May’s resignation last week. According to High Springs’ city charter, the commission may appoint an interim commissioner to fill the seat until the special election. The City is required by the charter to hold a special election to fill Seat 5 no later than April 29.
Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter has asked the city to schedule the election for April 10, the same day two other municipalities are conducting elections. The commission is scheduled to consider the election and a possible interim appointment at the Thursday meeting.
The commission is also expected to adopt an amended 2011/12 fiscal year budget following a workshop conducted last week. The proposed budget changes call for the elimination of a police lieutenant position, travel expenses and a wastewater fund transfer. See related story, High Springs budget could affect plans on page A*.
The Feb. 9 workshop will begin at 5:30 with discussion about the city manager hiring process, followed by the commission meeting at 6:30 at High Springs City Hall.
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