It looks like New Port Richey won’t be hiring a city manager until sometime this fall.
City council members indicated Tuesday they wanted to start the search for a city manager in May and wait until Oct. 1 to hire a candidate. The city’s current fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and the new budget year starts Oct. 1.
New Port Richey lost its most recent city manager John Schneiger this past October. The city ended up agreeing to pay him a $44,000 severance package that was provided for in his contract. New Port Richey Public Library director Susan Dillinger has acted as interim city manager since Schneiger’s departure.
City staff proposed advertising a salary in the mid $90,000s for the city manager job.
Councilwoman Judy DeBella Thomas floated the idea Tuesday night to wait to hire a new city manager. She noted Schneiger, who came on board the city in May 2010, was hired in the “midst of our budget.”
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“I think that created lots of consternation for us,” she said. “…I think it would be more preferable for us to be able to hire someone Oct. 1, handing them the budget and saying ‘Go forward.'"
Councilman Bill Phillips agreed with DeBella’s proposal. He pointed out that the city would need to go through a vetting process. There are elections this March with the possibility of new people coming onto the council and trying to get up to speed with what’s going on in the city.
Phillips also noted it would give the city time to draft a new city manager contract.
“We paid for the pleasure of the last person to leave,” he said.
City Council members indicated they were open to starting the search for a manager around May 1. The city could select the candidate before October and phase him into the position on Oct. 1.
They also indicated they were willing to keep Dillinger in the interim city manager job during the search and consider giving her a pay bump. They will be presented with a resolution on the issue at an upcoming meeting.