City Manager Search Starts Over

City Council members were disappointed with the pool of candidates for city manager.

Former New Port Richey City Manager John Schneiger
Former New Port Richey City Manager John Schneiger
New Port Richey is starting its search for a new city manager over from scratch.

The City Council made the decision Sept. 17 after expressing dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates. They decided not to interview any of the candidates. Instead, they decided to dump those candidates and to start accepting applications again.

It seems city council members don’t want to waste any time. They want to find and hire a city manager by the end of October.

The city embarked on a search for a new manager this year to replace John Schneiger, who left this past October after saying he felt he lost the support of the council at that time. Library director Susan Dillinger has been serving as interim city manager since Schneiger’s departure.

On Monday, the citizens advisory group weighing on city manager candidates to the city council looked over the applicants to see which three they recommended the City Council invite for a job interview.

The five-person committee includes former Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe, former Pasco Schools Superintendent Heather Fiorentino and former County Administrator John Gallagher.

The three candidates they chose to forward to the city council were: Ron Rabun, former manager for Seminole and Manatee counties; Lyndon Bonner, former city manager of North Miami Beach; and Isaac Turner, former city manager for Venice.

According to minutes from the meeting, Fiorentino expressed disappointment about the candidates, saying there was no “shining star.” The other committee members echoed her. They “voiced their unhappiness and asked not to rush the hiring process,” according to the minutes.

In addition, Rabun, who got the most recommendations, was dropped from the running after being named as a finalist for county manager of Lee County.

City Council members also expressed disappointment in the candidates. They pointed out that candidates had resumes that showed their time in previous jobs only lasted 3-4 years.  

They also were concerned that the reasons candidates listed for leaving previous jobs weren’t legitimate. They also noted that some candidates were applying for jobs throughout the state and were concerned about hiring a candidate who didn’t “get” New Port Richey.

Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips didn’t have any names to recommend that the city council interview for the job.

“I could not find in this group of candidates what I feel is necessary and needed for the city,” he said.  

Council members were open to inviting candidates from this round to apply again for the job when they re-start the search. Some highlighted they were also welcome to accepting another application from Peter Altman, former mayor of New Port Richey and former Pasco County Commissioner.


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