During the Aug. 10 Special Meeting of the Brooksville City Council, council members voted 3-1 to approve the search and hiring process of the ‘best possible candidate’ for city manager. Mayor Brayton did suggest that they just hire interim city manager Ron Snowberger, but that idea was heavily rejected.
When there is a vacancy for the Brooksville City Manager position, the Director of HR has been responsible for the recruitment and onboarding process. Kimberly Price, City of Brooksville’s HR Director, gave a presentation outlining the steps that were taken in 2017 and the years prior to hire the city manager. The City Council has the authority to make any changes to the
recruiting process at any time.
Kimberly Price added additional notes, stating the HR Director from Pasco County Board of County Commissioners, Barbara Hitzemann, has volunteered her services to assist in the search for a City Manager. Barbara is a Human Resources Attorney who has assisted in recruiting other City Managers, including most recently, the City Manager of San Antonio, Florida. She points out the benefits of internal recruitment; Hiring an external recruiting agency would cost the City approximately $20k based on the City Manager’s anticipated salary.
Vice Mayor Robert Battista stated they’re, “Looking for someone with intensive Florida city manager experience, no one above the state line would be acceptable. We need them to know statues and Florida’s way of doing things.”
Mayor Pat Brayton remarked, “The ‘new’ council would like to employ their own city manager.
A statement was made when the last city manager was fired that the ‘new’ council would like to hire their own city manager. Next December there will be two new council members joining, seat numbers 1, (currently filled by) Robert A. Battista, and 4, (currently filled by) Betty Erhard, are on the election ballot for 2022.
What concerns Mayor Pat Brayton is, who would want to take the job of City Manager knowing they’ll be fired in a year. He added, “As I sit here right now I have been very excited and pleased to work with Mr. Snowberger. I want the council here today, right now to consider hiring Ron Snowberger as permanent city manager. I don’t think an interim situation is good for the city. Since we don’t know what will happen next December, I would like to consider a negotiated contract that would carry him through December 31, 2022. Which means the new council can then do whatever they wish. If Mr. Snowberger continues to do his job, I think they would be a bunch of fools if they let him go. That is what I would like to propose.”
A member of the public was shouting over Brayton at this time saying, “ What does the charter say?” Also bringing to attention that Mr. Snowberger does not live within Brooksville city limits.
Brayton responded back, “Read the charter. City council decides the city manager, period.” He added he was not going to get into the discussion of the city manager living within city limits.
Betty Erhard disagreed stating, “I don’t think it’s fair for the residents, I don’t think it’s fair for the city, and it’s not fair to the fire department. For us to make a decision today…no, I don’t agree.
… I don’t know how much knowledge Mr. Snowberger has on capital improvement, number one. Number two, he doesn’t live within the city limits, which is a requirement.”
Pat Brayton asked, “By whom is it a requirement?”
Betty Ernhard responded, “The city.”
Brayton asked, “Which city?”
Ernhard said, “By our contract.”
Brayton asked, “What contract? Forget the contract….”
Erhard cut him off, stating he clearly had his own agenda and that Council Member Bailey should not be allowed to participate in this decision because his son works for the fire department. Bailey stated it did not matter as his son did not live with him or have influence over him.
Vice Mayor Battista doesn’t approve of Brayton’s proposal either. He stated, “I think we need someone with a broad range of municipal experiences. I don’t think we even saw his resume. We didn’t hire him. I don’t think he would be the best and most qualified candidate we would get through the process. There is a lot of advice that needs to go to the newly hired department heads. We need someone overseeing their jobs with a wide range of experiences. He is a phenomenal fire chief and ran a great department. I have no problem with what he’s done so far. I think we can get a better qualified candidate. Mr. Bailey stated he wants to hire someone and the council does get to hire them through this process. I cannot believe that the people who sit up here are so willful that they’re not going to hire the best, qualified candidate that comes before us through this process. We want to find the best qualified candidate, regardless of the personalities up here. We are all adult enough to say ‘Well I wanted to hire my neighbor but no this is the person we were going to hire, they’re the best qualified from the statewide search to be here.’ I assume those who replace Mrs. Erhard and myself, along with the other two gentlemen at the other end of the dias will be adult enough to understand they’re picking the best qualified candidate, not your best buddy.”
Mayor Brayton stated he respected their opposition, so the decision the council then needed to make was to vote on whether the recruitment process provided by HR was feasible and if they would accept and move on with the process. Battista said there is no majority of the board to make a decision on whether to make Mr. Snowberger the permanent city manager or not.
Ernhard recommended moving forward, making a motion to move forward with the city manager recruitment hiring process submitted by HR.
Motion passed as 3-1, Bailey opposed.
Below is the city manager hiring process outline:
1) Posting of the Position: Once the vacancy is approved for recruitment, the position will
be posted for a 60-day period (average) on various external websites that include the
a. International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
b. Florida League of Cities Website
c. Gov.jobs site
e. City of Brooksville Website/Facebook Page
f. Linked In
2) Candidate Submission Process: Candidates will receive the brochure (provided)(brochure given to everyone whos applied for the position so they can get to know brooksville a little better and be asked to provide a Cover Letter, Resume, Application and References, by posting
3) Pre-Screening: The Director of HR will prescreen the applicants providing an overview
of the position, answer any questions, salary range and gauge level of interest
4) Background Pre-Screen: Verifications of Employment (VOE) and Educational
Background Confirmations will be completed by the Director of HR
5) Candidate Submission to Hiring Committee: Selected Candidates who pass the
the screening process will be forwarded on for review to the hiring committee (city council), which will consist of all Council Members and the City Attorney.
6) Interviews: Candidates selected to interview will be scheduled based on hiring
committee members’ availability
7) Background Check/Drug screening/Physical/Offer/Start Date: Once a final candidate
is chosen, a formal background process will be completed and an offer/start date