City council meeting to interview Marco Island city manager candidates set for May 7

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
File: Marco Island City Hall.

A scheduling conflict has resulted in the Marco Island City Council moving up its interviews for city manager finalists next month.

With the background check process already underway, City Council has agreed to host all five candidates from May 5-7, which will culminate in a special meeting on the final day for a public interview session.

The finalists for the city manager position are:

  • Michael Bonfield, former city manager for the St. Pete Beach and Creedmoor, N.C.
  • Steve Barwick, former city manager for the city of Aspen, Co.
  • Michael McNees, former city manager for the city of Melbourne
  • Catherine Swanson, former city manager for the city of Hollywood and city of Coral Gables  
  • Craig Coffey, former Flagler County and Desoto County administrator.

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The final five candidates were selected from a list of 60 that applied for the position last month.

The council had originally agreed to a timeline proposed by Florida City and County Management Association senior advisor Ken Parker which would have seen the interview process take place between May 15-17.

With Councilor Sam Young informing City Council that he would not be able to make those dates, City Manager David Harden said all of the finalists had availability for the new date range.

In order for City Council to hire a new city manager, it is required by charter to have a supermajority or at least five votes. Had the council proceeded with Young absent, it would have made it more difficult to approve a candidate to replace Harden, who was hired to serve in an interim capacity to stabilize the government and allow the city to conduct a search for a more permanent candidate.

The three-day process will begin with tours of the city before each individual councilor has an opportunity to meet with the candidates on May 6.

Harden said the city was expected to receive the results of the background checks by May 2, allowing the council to move forward with those dates.

Should the council have the votes to select any of the candidates May 7, Council Chairperson Erik Brechnitz and City Attorney Alan Gabriel would then conduct contract negotiations.

The goal has always been to have those negotiations wrapped up in June, when council would then vote whether to approve the contract.

Should the timeline go as planned, the new city manager would begin work in August.

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