published Friday, March 16th, 2012

Red Bank in no hurry to choose city manager

Six months have passed since Red Bank commissioners fired their city manager, but commissioners say they are in no rush to find his replacement.

Commissioners said they want to wait until budget season is over before reopening the selection process. That could be as late as July.

"The staff is so busy doing the budget right now that, if we brought in someone new, it would slow that process down," said Commissioner Ruth Jeno.

City Finance Director John Alexander has been the interim city manager and is drawing up the 2013 budget. Last month, the commission voted 5-0 to increase Alexander's salary retroactively to match his new duties.

Alexander requested that the $14,000 increase be split evenly with City Recorder Ruth Rohen, saying he could not have worked both jobs without her "invaluable effort and assistance."

The commissioners fired previous City Manager Chris Dorsey in an abrupt 3-2 vote during a meeting last October. Officials say he was let go over problems he had dealing with city personnel.

Afterward, the city went through a two-month application process. North Carolina-based city development director Randy Hemann turned down a job offer in December, and the selection process has been on hold since.

Jeno and Vice Mayor John Roberts support restarting the application process instead of falling back on the list of top candidates from the previous search.

"We're in no hurry," Roberts said.

Commissioner Floy Pierce said she is open to asking Alexander to apply for the permanent position.

"He has shown himself to be completely capable," she said.

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