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HIGH SPRINGS – The High Springs City Commission moved forward with several hiring matters Tuesday, Oct. 9. After considerable discussion and debate about whether the city manager or city attorney was more important to the City, and amid suggestions and motions that went nowhere, attorney Scott Walker was eventually hired for a period of six months to represent the City of High Springs.

Bronson City Attorney Steven Warm, who told commissioners he could work within the City’s budgeted amount of $40,000, and Walker, who requested $4,500 per month or $54,000 per year for two meetings a week, plus $280 per hour for litigation, appeared to be the front runners.

Initial motions by the commission to approve one and then the other failed for lack of the required second to the motion.

Confronted with the lack of a decision, Mayor Dean Davis said he was concerned that a $250,000 grant might be at risk because the City had no attorney.  Commissioner Linda Gestrin suggested that City Clerk Jenny Parham could negotiate the dollar amount with whichever attorney they selected. Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas searched the budget to see where he could find the funds to hire Walker.  Unable to locate the funds immediately, Barnas made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sue Weller, to hire the firm of Folds & Walker for a six-month period at $4,500 per month.  The motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Scott Jamison dissenting.  Jamison maintained that the City should stay within the budget and hire Warm, who was equally qualified and would work for the budgeted amount.

City Manager Interviews

On another issue, although the commission earlier said they would narrow the pool of city manager applicants to a total of five, they decided to interview all seven.  The decision was made because commissioners were unable to obtain a majority vote on the remaining candidates.

Parham was asked to contact all seven applicants to schedule 30-minute interviews each beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.  Resumes will be available on the City’s web page for public review.

Candidates are Scott Lippman, Kathleen Margoles, Doug Hewitt, Andrew DeCandis, Isabel Smith, Edwin Booth and Marty Simone.  Candidates arriving from out of town will be provided a hotel room for one night not to exceed $100.

The interview process is open to the public.  Residents with questions they would like to have answered by candidates should submit them to the commission as soon as possible.  However, commissioners will choose the final group of questions.

Interim City Manager

Lee Vincent was approved as interim city manager for a period of 30 days, with the right to extend the contract another 30 days if a city manager has not been chosen by that time.  Vincent will be paid a pro-rated amount based on $61,000 annually and will be on hand 40 hours a week to address City issues.

Parham was instructed to contact newly appointed city attorney Scott Walker to request he draft a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Vincent, stipulating there would be no benefits paid and there would be no appeal should he be released from service.  Parham agreed to stay in the position as interim city manager until Vincent is on board.

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Email Cwalker@alachuatoday.com

HIGH SPRINGS – The High Springs City Commission moved forward with several hiring matters Tuesday, Oct. 9. After considerable discussion and debate about whether the city manager or city attorney was more important to the City, and amid suggestions and motions that went nowhere, attorney Scott Walker was eventually hired for a period of six months to represent the City of High Springs.

Bronson City Attorney Steven Warm, who told commissioners he could work within the City’s budgeted amount of $40,000, and Walker, who requested $4,500 per month or $54,000 per year for two meetings a week, plus $280 per hour for litigation, appeared to be the front runners.

Initial motions by the commission to approve one and then the other failed for lack of the required second to the motion.

Confronted with the lack of a decision, Mayor Dean Davis said he was concerned that a $250,000 grant might be at risk because the City had no attorney.  Commissioner Linda Gestrin suggested that City Clerk Jenny Parham could negotiate the dollar amount with whichever attorney they selected. Vice-Mayor Bob Barnas searched the budget to see where he could find the funds to hire Walker.  Unable to locate the funds immediately, Barnas made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sue Weller, to hire the firm of Folds & Walker for a six-month period at $4,500 per month.  The motion passed 4-1 with Commissioner Scott Jamison dissenting.  Jamison maintained that the City should stay within the budget and hire Warm, who was equally qualified and would work for the budgeted amount.

City Manager Interviews

On another issue, although the commission earlier said they would narrow the pool of city manager applicants to a total of five, they decided to interview all seven.  The decision was made because commissioners were unable to obtain a majority vote on the remaining candidates.

Parham was asked to contact all seven applicants to schedule 30-minute interviews each beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.  Resumes will be available on the City’s web page for public review.

Candidates are Scott Lippman, Kathleen Margoles, Doug Hewitt, Andrew DeCandis, Isabel Smith, Edwin Booth and Marty Simone.  Candidates arriving from out of town will be provided a hotel room for one night not to exceed $100.

The interview process is open to the public.  Residents with questions they would like to have answered by candidates should submit them to the commission as soon as possible.  However, commissioners will choose the final group of questions.

Interim City Manager

Lee Vincent was approved as interim city manager for a period of 30 days, with the right to extend the contract another 30 days if a city manager has not been chosen by that time.  Vincent will be paid a pro-rated amount based on $61,000 annually and will be on hand 40 hours a week to address City issues.

Parham was instructed to contact newly appointed city attorney Scott Walker to request he draft a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Vincent, stipulating there would be no benefits paid and there would be no appeal should he be released from service.  Parham agreed to stay in the position as interim city manager until Vincent is on board.

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