Out of 55 applicants, only five remain in the search for a new Gainesville city manager.
City commissioners will discuss and possibly select one of the remaining candidates at a special meeting Friday at 2 p.m. in the City Hall Auditorium. The five finalists include Harry Black, Lee Feldman, Anne Fritz, Janice Jackson and Howard Lazarus.
The city manager runs day-to-day operations of the city, also known as “the CEO of the city,” said District 4 Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos. Interviews for the final five were conducted Wednesday and Thursday, which included a panel-style interview and a one-on-one interview with commissioners.
“I think we have some great candidates, and I look forward to discussing with the commission [today] on a selection,” Hayes-Santos said.
The anticipated cost for the city manager search is $32,000, according to public records. The amount, which is funded through unallocated general fund balance, accounts for search fees and candidate travel, meals and more.
Former Gainesville City Manager Anthony Lyons resigned from his position in December 2018 after receiving backlash from the public about the high amount of turnover for city employees, according to Alligator archives. City commissioners then chose Deborah Bowie as interim city manager in January. She still holds the position.
In addition to the formal interviews for city manager, the five candidates also mingled with local residents and city officials Wednesday evening during a meet-and-greet in the GRU multipurpose room.
Gainesville resident Coswell Depeiza, 69, attended the gathering to look for a candidate who has a connection to a smaller city like Gainesville. He said the city manager position is crucial, especially when addressing Gainesville’s homeless situation.
“We need somebody in here that knows some way how to put a harness on it,” Depeiza said.