DeFuniak Springs, Fla. - It's been nearly four months since the City of DeFuniak Springs has had a city manager and a finance director. Residents are ready to move forward and get someone in place but, a new issue with the hiring process has come up, leaving only one candidate for the job.
"Ive never seen A process so brutal," Dr. Melinda Henderson told the City of DeFuniak Springs Council.
It's been an ongoing process trying to find a city manager to fill the position in Defuniak Springs. It started out with 43 people and now, they are down to one but, some residents say this process has not been fully transparent.
"We felt there was a lack of transparency. We felt the candidates were told one thing and that was not delivered," explained Erin Glenn, DeFuniak Springs Resident.
As a new resident to the area Glenn says, she is concerned at the direction the City is moving in.
"Its a little bit mind boggling to look at the natural assists that the city has and how difficult it has been for them to capitalize on them and frankly to have management in a community like this is worthy of having," said Glenn.
In the hiring process, a committee was formed to evaluate applicants for the position. Out of the 43 people interested, it was narrowed down to two choices but, there was still confusion.
"My clear understanding and recollection from the meeting was that we were going to notify those individuals on Thursday or a Friday, if they had been selected to move forward," shared Glenn.
"I recall that they were told Thursday or Friday, they would be notified of something," said Dr. Henderson.
But that didn't happen, the remaining two candidates were not notified. So, one of them withdrew their application.
"Frankly as a result, we had another highly qualified candidate withdraw from the process over the weekend," said Glenn.
Leaving the DeFuniak Springs City Council with only one option, Mell Smigielski from Mexico Beach.
"I feel like we need to at least give this gentleman an interview," said Janie Griffith, DeFuniak Springs City Council Member.
The DeFuniak Springs City Council voted to set a special meeting with Smigielski for an interview on August 7 at 6:30 P.M.
"We are under no obligation to select this select this particular candidate. However, he has fully and completely vetted by your committee," said Ron Kelley, DeFuniak Springs City Council Member.
If all goes as planned, Mayor Bob Campbell says, he expects a new city manager to be in place within 30 days and a new finance director to be hire within a few months.
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