By: Sharon Aron Baron
Like a game of musical chairs, the candidates for Parkland’s next city manager keeps changing.
After finalist Jacob Ellis, dropped out after receiving another job offer, two others applied before the deadline. At last week’s city meeting, Mayor Christine Hunschofsky asked the commission to allow their alternate, Brian Raducci, finance director for the City of Aventura to be considered.
The commission agreed, which left them with six candidates going into the interviews Saturday, October 26.
But there was more news: On Tuesday, candidate Andrew Berns dropped out of contention after the Town of Southwest Ranches extended his contract.
So the finalists are now as follows: Erdal Donmez, Kevin Knutson, Samuel May, Nancy Morando, and Brian Raducci.
The individual Interviews are set to begin at 9:00 a.m., with the last one taking place at 3:00 p.m. Following the interviews, each candidate will have approximately 15 minutes for Parkland residents to ask them questions.
More about the candidates:
The city manager of Coral Springs from 2000-2017, Erdal Donmez, was the former director in the Department of Real Estate and Economic Development for the city of Miami.
He holds a bachelor of science in economics from Florida State University and his master’s of science in economics from Auburn University.
Donmez said his 17 years of progressive city management experience in a high-performing organization with proven results support his confidence that he is ready to serve as the next city manager of Parkland, where he will challenge himself to maintain and improve the legacy of the current leadership.
Donmez said he is a seasoned professional with the highest ethical standards and impeccable reputation and has first-hand knowledge and understanding of FEMA disaster preparedness and disaster recovery policies and procedures.
“For 17 years, I have worked side-by-side with local elected officials and with other legislative bodies and officials at every level on many issues.”
Kevin Knutson is a strategic planner with Envisio Solutions and holds a bachelor of arts in English and a master’s degree in creative writing from Florida International University. Currently living in British Columbia, Canada, his experience includes time as an assistant city manager for the city of Reno NV, from 2011-2012 and director of communications and marketing for the City of Coral Springs from 2005-2008.
Knutson said it had been his personal and professional goal for the past 30 years to help improve the services that local governments provide to residents through prudent financial planning, strategic planning, process improvement, performance management, and communications.
“I have worked with and for over 130 cities, towns, counties, and districts, with populations ranging from 3,000 to over 3,000,000. One of my favorites has been the City of Parkland.”
Recently retired as the city manager of Margate, Samuel May worked his way up starting in 1988 as an engineering inspector, becoming city manager in 2017.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Barry University as well as a master’s of arts in administrative studies.
May said Parkland is a premier city of Broward County and feels if he is selected as the next city manager, it will be the pinnacle of his career.
He also believes Parkland has some challenges: One is an issue relating to drainage within the more rural subdivisions. The other is the unique opportunity to determine the future use of undeveloped land within the city limits. While the city commission and the citizens of Parkland will establish goals for the future use of the undeveloped land, and the city manager will then be tasked with accomplishing those goals — as well as tasked with resolving the drainage issues.
He believes he is a perfect fit in Parkland due to his extensive background in municipal government in both operations and administration, his knowledge of intergovernmental agencies, his ability to work well with all types of personalities, and his skills in leading a management team to proactively accomplish goals that are for the greater good of the city and its citizens.
May served as the city manager of a city comprised of police, fire, utilities (including water, sewer, and stormwater), building, development services, parks and recreation, and public works departments. Before this, he served as the public works director, public works superintendent, and as an engineering inspector.
“Throughout my career, I have managed many contracts and contractors and successfully resolved drainage issues. I also worked closely with a city commission and implemented the goals set by them,” he said.
Nancy Morando is the interim city manager for Parkland. She is also working as the finance director. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in finance.
A Parkland resident, Morando, said she is very interested in becoming Parkland’s next city manager because having a stable, reliable, and dedicated leader is essential to the success of our organization and city.
“During the past three years, I have led the city as the interim city manager and assistant city manager. There have been many challenges and opportunities during this timeframe. We worked closely with Lennar, our largest developer, to resolve numerous issues and concerns that residents have had. We dealt with mold and drainage issues that were resolved.”
Morando also said during her time, the city experienced a 100-year storm, causing significant drainage issues in the western portion of the city, and she worked with the North Springs Improvement District to purchase a pump that would alleviate future flooding.
Brian Raducci has been the finance director for Aventura since 2007. He held the same position in North Lauderdale for six years and is both a New York and 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.
“I am very excited about having the opportunity to become Parkland’s next city manager as I believe that my managerial style, diverse experience, skillset, and personality would be an excellent fit for Parkland,” he said.
Raducci believes that he could add significant value to its leadership team by utilizing his extensive budget and financial experience and collaborative team-oriented approach that promotes excellence and integrity.
“The highly effective interpersonal, communication, and negotiation skills that I developed throughout my career provide me with the experience and confidence to become Parkland’s next city manager.”
He said he looks forward to serving in such a high-quality organization that is committed to maintaining its unique charming and “park-like” characteristics that have made it such an attractive community for residents and businesses alike.
Following the individual interviews, discussions about the candidates will take place at a special city commission meeting on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall, where a decision is set to take place.