Danville City Commission has asked its citizens committee to reconvene in its quest to recruit candidates for a new city manager.
The unanimous vote came at a special meeting Tuesday after a nearly two-hour executive session. During the session, commissioners interviewed two of the four candidates recommended by the citizens committee via Skype, said Mayor Bernie Hunstad. The other two candidates withdrew their applications.
The committee received 12 applications with the names redacted and chose the top four to recommend to the City Commission. But the committee should have chosen the best seven in accordance with instructions given at a previous City Commission meeting, according to Hunstad.
When the committee reconvenes, it should rank the remaining eight applications in order of preference so commissioners can decide who else to interview for the job. Commissioners requested the committee complete this task by Friday so the results will be available in time for a special commission meeting to be held Monday.
Commissioner Kevin Caudill thanked the committee for its work.
“Those two candidates (that we interviewed) were excellent,” Caudill said. “But we can’t make an educated choice with only two candidates.”
During the meeting, committee Chairwoman Mary Stith Hamlin said she did not know if the group could reconvene in time and that she was going out of town for the weekend. Hunstad suggested Hamlin appoint a vice chairman if she could not be available to meet the deadline.
Though the committee members got along well during meetings, they had a difficult time finding more than four qualified candidates for city manager, Hamlin said during several recent committee and commission meetings. Hunstad said during an interview last week he disagreed with Hamlin’s assessment and that 10 of the 12 candidates reviewed by the committee were “unquestionably worth considering.”
Interim City Manager Ron Scott, who stepped into the role in August, was not one of the four applicants selected by the committee, according to Hunstad. However, Scott and other applicants are still eligible to be interviewed, the mayor noted.
The city manager position became vacant in May when Paul Stansbury was fired in a 3-2 vote. Those who voted for Stansbury’s termination alleged he failed to provide strong and proactive leadership, did not adequately manage the city’s cemeteries, failed to instruct and guide city commissioners in a timely manner about the expansion of the water plant, and did not follow the city’s procurement policy on at least two occasions. Stansbury settled with the city after a brief period of legal disputes.
Not counting staff time by city employees or billable hours from city attorneys, the city has spent more than $300,000 in 11 months on city manager-related matters, according to a reporter’s recent audit of financial records obtained under an open records request. The expenses are as follows:
- $10,666 for Paul Stansbury's medical insurance.
- $480 for Stansbury’s dental plan.
- $66,197 paid to Stansbury between May and July 2011.
- $157,040 in “city manager replacement expenses” between July 2011 and March 2012, including a January 2012 payment of $50,491 to Stansbury and $7,500 to The Mercer Group for city manager recruitment.
- $14,647 paid to former mayor John W.D. Bowling for serving as interim city manager between June and September 2011.
- $5,143.92 paid to Lexington law firm Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney to handle a situation in which a city employee allegedly made a death threat against Bowling.
- $41,544 paid to Interim City Manager Ron Scott between September 2011 and March 29, 2012.
- $7,106.88 for Scott’s medical insurance.
- $5,005 for Scott’s retirement benefits.
- $480 for Scott’s dental plan.