By Ginger Jarvis
Madison residents will have a chance to meet the top five candidates for the City Manager position on Tuesday, January 11, 2012. Following a meet-and-greet session at 4 p.m., the City Commissioners will hold their regular meeting, then will conduct interviews with the five. The board will meet the following evening at 5:30 p.m. to select the person best suited for the job.
The commissioners finalized these plans at their regular meeting on December 13. From a field of 23 candidates, each commissioner voted on individual ballots for five. The eight top vote-getters in round one went on to round two, with four receiving four or five votes each. The board then voted between the two who had each received three votes.
The candidates (in alphabetical order) include Bailey Barefoot of Madison; Tim Bennett of Allendale, South Carolina; Charles Parkinson of Hollywood; Oel Wingo of Reddick; and Jerome Wyche of Madison. City Clerk Lee Ann Hall was instructed to immediately issue invitations to the January 11 session and to follow up with written notification. The board agreed to fund housing and meals for the out-of-town candidates, but not to pay travel expenses.
Barefoot has had eight years of experience with the Florida Department of Correction, and earlier was Director of Safety, Health, and Environment in Columbus, Ga. Bennett served as Deputy and Assistant Town Manager of Bluffton, South Carolina, then became County Manager of Allendale County in 2009. Parkinson served as Chief of the Office of Management Services (Transit) in Miami-Dade County before moving on to Management and Budget Coordinator in the same office. Wingo has more than 15 years of experience as City Manager and Assistant City Manager, most recently in newly-incorporated Palm Coast. Wyche worked in a private corrections facility before being named director of Solid Waste and Recycling in Madison County.
Following the selection on January 12, the board will anticipate having the new City Manager in place at the February meeting, when they negotiate the salary for the new manager.
Paul Sharon of the Range Riders offered to assist the commissioners with the a list of questions to ask the candidates. He had earlier helped with the balloting process and rated the candidates for the commissioners. Each commissioner was provided with the resumes submitted by the candidates previous to the December meeting.
At the close of the meeting, Sharon said, “Good luck in your search. You have some strong candidates there.”
Mayor Jim Catron thanked Sharon for his help throughout the process