NEW PORT RICHEY — Try, try again, city council members figure on the search for a permanent city manager that will spill over into 2014.
The elected leaders will reconsider the pay scale before advertising the position again.
New Port Richey has gone without a full-time city manager since Oct. 9, 2012, more than a year ago, when John Schneiger departed on short notice as the city was confronting financial problems. Library Director Susan Dillinger has served as interim city manager ever since.
Council members scrubbed Nov. 26 interviews by videoconferencing with four semifinalist candidates, once their top choice, Jim Pascale, dropped out last week.
Pascale, the township administrator for Princeton, N.J., from 1983 through the end of 2012, withdrew his name Nov. 18 as a contender.
The city should reject all current applicants and then start over, City Attorney Nicole Nate advised. Then the city could advertise the position with any changes such as a broader pay scale.
Officials advertised a pay range of about $90,000 to $110,000 for city manager, depending on experience. The first round of applications attracted 77 candidates, but only 12 of them met qualifications, Mayor Bob Consalvo recalled.
“Sometimes you get what you pay for,” Councilman Jeff Starkey remarked at the Nov. 19 council meeting. He was willing to reconsider the pay scale and benefits.
“I’ve been frustrated with the process,” Councilman Bill Phillips commented. With the holidays looming, Phillips suggested restarting the search in January.
Starkey asked Dillinger if she was getting burned out after pulling double duty for a prolonged period of time. Dillinger replied she does need a vacation.