“Heavy handed” attempt to push through city manager blocked by Resnick, Colangelo

As the city moves toward being overseen by the Governor’s Chief Inspector General in response to county and state audits into the city’s finances and operation, an effort was made to approve a new city manager. The effort failed as Commissioners Resnick and Colangelo cited concerns about the process and qualification of the lone candidate under consideration.

In explaining why he was not voting to move the selection of a new city manager forward, Commissioner Cade Resnick reiterated his concerns that the process was “heavy handed”, and that city staff had lied about the process.

Although the Mayor claimed the recruitment firm had received hundreds of applications, only one person was presented for a final round of interviews and voting, which raised red flags for Commissioners Resnick and Colangelo, who blocked the process.

“I have had a concern from the start that for an executive position we only had one person here,” Resnick commented at the Commission meeting. “There are issues at many levels and one of those is that a lot of things were heavy handed from the start.”

Commissioner Colangelo, who has repeatedly questioned recruitment process, slammed the recruitment firm as “unprofessional” and raised concerns about the lack of transparency and insufficient recruitment efforts. “I’d like to throw out Korn Ferry due to being unprofessional and not listening to the commissions wants and requirements.”

Both Resnick and Colangelo wanted the process to start over. Seminole County recently rejected at least one of the candidates under consideration by the City of Winter Springs and started the search process over, citing similar concerns about qualifications.

Commissioner Cade Resnick’s full comments:

“I have had a concern from the start that for an executive position we only had one person here. There are issues at many levels and one of those is that a lot of things were heavy handed from the start. I addressed when we talked about the city managers that I was not impressed with these people who were presented to us. I would like some people to compare to. I would not be opposed to starting the process again with a reputable company. I don’t find this company to have been reputable in looking at a city manager in Florida. This was their first go at looking at a city manager in Florida and they didn’t know what they were doing.”

“I said from the start that I didn’t have a good feeling about the first person and the first person proved me right by showing exactly how unprofessional he was. That same person was also passed over by several other cities and counties. As for the process, I called to question the assistant city manager and our current acting city manager to say why did you not reach out to these other companies and was told we did. They did not. They reached out to this one company who has doubled the price. So let’s not start and say everybody is in agreement. Everybody’s in agreement to the point that they go we have no other choice because they’ve limited these. I’ve even emailed to the city manager people who said ‘hey, nobody reached out to us.’ They lied. That’s a consistent message in this city prior to me being here and in that conversation I have concerns that this Korn Ferry company, they say 200, we’re never going to find out the actual number. We don’t know if it was people from McDonalds that were looking for a job or otherwise. Yet, the five people we interviewed, I said from the start when we came up here to talk, I was not comfortable with those two. That was not sabotage, that’s me.”

“What the charter says is based on qualifications yet we all have a decision to make based on our interpretation of qualifications and the process. So in your question, which is the same exact thing I said when we met after the meeting was I did not feel comfortable with these people. I have spoken with Mr. Miller and I have nothing to compare to him because we do not have a second person. I understand the frustration by another commissioner shared with me publicly that it was my fault yet I have shared from the start my concerns. I have nobody to compare him to. If I were to compare him to the first one the problem I have with that is that the first one in a very belligerent email said he didn’t want to be here. He showed his true colors to me. He showed his colors to Seminole County. So, with all due respect, if this is the aggression I’m getting from people for my open conversation, commissioner Elliot you asked what I thought of the qualifications, on that regard I want another person to compare him to because the qualifications are a one-sided conversation and I was not happy from the start. I have not changed that perspective.”