Councilman Joe Batte, with the support of Councilors Howard Reed and Bob Brown, attempted to add the name of Guillermo Polanco to the list of candidates that would be considered for a final interview on November 2nd.
Polanco has led the city for the last nine months since the resignation of former City Manager Roger Hernstadt. Prior to Hernstadt’s hiring in February of 2014, Polanco filled that same vacancy as the interim manager after James Riviere left in October of 2013. During the last 51 months he has served in the city manager position for 25% of that time.
Batte cited Polanco’s experience running the city during the last nine months in his attempt to have his name added to the list. “He has the support and respect of his staff,” said Batte. “He has grown in this position, especially as a result of his handling of the recent hurricane and deserves an opportunity to continue in his role,” said Batte after the meeting.
“It is probably the only good thing to come out of this hurricane worth a damn. It showed what a fantastic staff we have and the leadership of Mr. Polanco,” said Batte.
Batte had originally floated a motion which would have hired Polanco outright, but it was Councilor Reed who would suggest his name be added to the finalist list for a November 1st interview process. “I am surprised and pleased, but believe we should follow through with the process,” said Reed. He would suggest an amendment to the original motion to add Polanco to the finalist list which was agreed to.
However, when it came time for the vote, Council Chairman Larry Honig would oppose adding Polanco to the finalist list; “I think we would be doing those that did apply a disservice,” said Honig. “Mr. Polanco you have the strongest resume in the State of Florida if you choose to move on,” said Honig.
Councilor Charlette Roman would suggest that Polanco might be better in a secondary position to gain more experience and Councilor Victor Rios would agree.
“Gil is a team player and would not act to promote himself, but I did speak to him and he would accept the position. He will take the position if it is offered. He’ll have our back in any emergency,” continued Batte.
Batte’s passionate pleas would fall on deaf ears as Council Chairman Honig, Vice Chair Jared Grifoni, Councilors Rios and Roman all voted to deny Polanco the opportunity to move forward to the interview process with the other candidates.
They would chose four others to move to the interview process that will begin on November 1st with a meet and greet in the city council chambers and on November 2nd with interviews amongst the seven council members individually, who will reconvene in the evening to make a choice.
Daniel Alfonso the present City Manager for the City of Miami, Florida, David Fraser of Boulder City, Nevada, William Malinen of Branson, Missouri and Lee Niblock of Gainesville, Florida would be the four finalists. Only Daniel Alfonso is presently actively employed.
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