Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Lake City City Manager Search, Applicants – Part I First 13, Where They’re From,  Education, Present Positions & Resumes

Mayor Witt did not add a discussion about the City Manager Search for Monday night's Council meeting.

Lake City City Manager Search: Girl looking through monoscope
Photo: Cottonbro Studio via Pexels | Columbia County Observer graphic

widget-city-manager-storiesLAKE CITY, FL – The multiyear Lake City City Manager saga continues. Leveling out the over two years of former City Manager Paul Dyal's intrigue, turmoil, lawsuits, scandals, financial glad-handing, brain drain, and city management determined by loyalty rather than experience and qualifications will be a big job for Lake City’s next City Manager.

By the morning of January 22, 2024, thirteen applicants had applied for the City Manager Position.

The minimum qualifications are in the City Manager job description and the City Charter (§ 401), which states: "The city council shall appoint a city manager for an indefinite term. The compensation of the city manager shall be fixed by the council. The city manager shall hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited four (4) year college or university and have either ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in municipal or corporate management in a senior management position or any equivalent combination of training and experience.”

A college degree is non-negotiable, something the Godfathers across the way who are running Columbia County pay attention to only when they feel like it.

The City Manager job description states the nature of the work and the primary functions of the City Manager position. It is a big job. Lake City has 12,000 plus residents, over 200 employees, police and fire departments, and a water–wastewater–gas utility with over 8,000 customers. Lake City’s budget is $75 million.

Lake City City Manager spread sheet

Part II of the most recent applicants will provide information about the nine applicants who applied for the position after January 22.

They dribbled in after January 20 at less than one a day over the thirteen days. According to HR, the last application was received at 11 am on February 2, six hours before the close of business on Friday.

HR Director BillieJo Bible was unable to prepare the rest of the applications, only two on February 2, for distribution, and they won't be released until tomorrow. Had they been released on Friday, the City Council would have had the time to review them over the weekend.

Applicant Requirements

Link to first City Manager ApplicationsSome applicants did not provide the required three items of information: application, resume, and cover letter.

These items were not discretionary. The job posting on the City HR web job description stated the following: “Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, resume, and application by Friday, February 2, 2024 @ 4:30 pm.”

Only five candidates submitted the required cover letter in the first batch of applications (13), and three did not provide applications.

In the second batch of candidates (9), only one candidate came up short and did not provide the required application.

The Observer has requested the resumes, and they are expected to be provided on Monday, February 5.

Advertising for the City Manager position was discussed and approved (4-1) during the Council meeting on December 4, 2023. Former City Councilman Todd Sampson moved that HR would decide where to advertise the open position.

On Friday, February 2, 2024, the closing date of the application process, your reporter checked with the ICMA (International City Manager Association), Florida Association of Counties (FAC), and the Florida League of Cities. Not one of those websites listed the Lake City position. It is unknown where the position was advertised.

The City employment applications do not ask where the applicants found the open position listed.


Monday evening, the Council will carry on.

Neither Mayor Witt nor Interim City Manager De Johnson added a discussion or update from HR on the vacant City Manager position.

It is Lake City.

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