City of Parkland Narrows Search for New City Manager 1
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The city of Parkland wants their next city manager to be top quality, skilled in performance measurement, and have highly effective communication skills who will keep all commission members informed with unfiltered information.

Through a recruiting effort by Slavin Management Consultants out of Norcross Georgia, Eight candidates are now semifinalists out of the original 51 applicants.

The search began after last January when Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky asked then, city manager Bob Payton, for his resignation after he wasn’t amenable to a separation agreement. Payton, who was hired in June 2017, told the commission a year ago he wasn’t a good fit for all of them.  Several members of the commission agreed and accepted his resignation. 

Some of the requirements the city stipulated for their next city manager were they must hold a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration, or a related field and have least five to seven years of municipal management experience as a senior-level government leader. Experience as a city manager or assistant manager, as well as a master’s degree, would be a plus.

Here are the following semifinalists in alphabetical order:

Scott Andrews is the assistant city manager of Smyrna, Georgia where he resides. He has 16 years of experience with government organizations. 

Andrews holds a bachelor’s of science in business management with the University of South Florida/the University of Phoenix; a master’s in public administration from Strayer University; and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Argosy University.

Before working as an assistant city manager, he was the economic development director for the city of Sugar Hill, Georgia. He expressed excitement returning home to the Sunshine State where he worked for the city of Temple Terrace from 2003-2017.

“I can assure you that my combination of experience skills and abilities make me the ideal candidate for your position,” he wrote on his application.

Andrew Berns is currently the town administrator — or city manager— of Southwest Ranches and has held that position since 2012. Before this, he was the community and economics affairs officer, public and economic affairs officer and economic development officer with the City of Tamarac.

Currently residing in Delray Beach, Berns holds a bachelor’s of science from Kean University and a master’s in public administration from FAU. 

He stated on his application that the structure of Southwest Ranches is very similar to Parkland, in that he understands the challenges of managing a small staff and working with contract service providers.

“Both municipalities also share a desire to maintain a low millage rate…In my budgeting experience, I have always worked to maximize service levels to the community while doing so at as low a cost as possible.”

Erdal Donmez is the former city manager of Coral Springs from 2000-2017. Before this, he was the director in the Department of Real Estate and economic development for the City of Miami. 

He holds a bachelor of science in economics from FSU and his master’s of science in economics at Auburn University.

Donmez retired from Coral Springs based on his own decision to spend more time with his family and to make room for his successor. He wrote that although he enjoys retirement, he increasingly feels the desire to tackle new challenges and utilize the skills that he has built over the years.

Jacob Ellis has held the position of deputy town manager for the Town of Gilbert, Arizona since 2017.  Before this, he was the assistant to the town manager in 2015.

Currently residing in Gilbert, Ellis holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, master’s of public administration from Cleveland State University and a Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

“Parkland’s values and priorities are an excellent fit with my own,” he wrote. “I’ve spent years working to ensure the small-town charm of a community is preserved during times of rapid growth.

Mark Mason has been the director of financial services for the city of Tamarac since 2010. Before that, he had the same position in the city of Cape Coral. 

Currently living in Coral Springs, Mason has a bachelor’s of science from UCF.

He is interested in becoming the next city manager because it has the unique character and opportunities that fit his skillset and experience.

He described Parkland’s character as a “small-town feel in a larger metropolitan area,” and wants to ensure the city maintains its park-like lifestyle while ensuring land use and development fit with those parameters.

Samuel May recently retired from his position as city manager of Margate, where in 1988, he began working as an engineering inspector and in 2017, become city manager.

May did not disclose his city of residence. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Barry University as well as a master’s of arts in administrative studies.  He stated that his style of leadership combines coaching with leading by example. 

“For me, being the city manager of Parkland would be the pinnacle of my career.”

Brian Raducci has been the finance director for Aventura since 2007. He held the same position in North Lauderdale for six years and is a  Florida certified public accountant with more than 26 years of professional experience.

He lives in Coral Springs and holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Siena College.

“For nearly 23 years, I have gained invaluable and diverse local government managerial experience by proudly serving both Broward and Miami-Dade County municipalities.”

Leonard Sossamon held the position of county administrator for Hernando County, Florida since 2012 until the commission terminated his contract in January. He stated it was without cause after the most recent election due to political motives. He explained that the county would not defer unneeded capital projects or raise taxes; therefore, the commission depleted their unrestricted reserve funds, blaming him.

With over 30 years of local government experience, Sossamon now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and holds both a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of North Carolina and a master’s of arts in Urban Geography.

On Wednesday, the consultant will make recommendations to the commission on the next steps to take in the process.

Correction:  The number of candidates who applied was corrected from 47 to 51.

Author Profile

Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
Estate Law of Florida, P.A.
Adam Baron Law