By: Sharon Aron Baron
Out of five qualified finalists to choose from and an expensive recruiting effort, Parkland commissioners decided to make the safe choice for their next city manager.
On Tuesday evening, they chose interim city manager Nancy Morando as their pick. However, it wasn’t unanimous.
The commission narrowed down their top selections to three, and then the city clerk read each of the choices for the record.
The mayor and commissioners were searching for a top-quality candidate, skilled in performance measurement, with highly effective communication skills who will keep them all informed with unfiltered information.
Three commissioners believed Nancy Morando was currently doing well as an interim city manager and wanted to keep stability in the city, however, all of them had Kevin Knutson as one of their top three picks.
“I liked Kevin [Knutson]. He did a fantastic interview and showed a lot of promise. But Nancy has been a loyal employee for 13 years,” said Commissioner Rich Walker.
City commissioner Stacey Kagan said they needed to look at the people who have stepped up and have been with the city for a long time. She believed Morando stepped up twice when she took the position of the interim city manager.
Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said from day one she wanted a manager.
“I want a technical manager. [Knutson] is an ICMA certified city manager. This shows a commitment and an understanding of knowing what a city manager is. He also has a wealth of knowledge, having been out in the country. “
Vice Mayor Ken Cutler felt that unless a candidate overwhelmingly blew him away, he thought that the best candidate was the one who was already in place.
“She’s been here for 13 years, and there isn’t anyone who has a better understanding of the staff,” he said.
The mayor said even she wouldn’t want to be a city manager in Parkland if there wasn’t complete agreement.
“I don’t think it’s healthy for the city, the commission, or the staff. But I’m only one person up here.”
Commissioner Bob Mayersohn said we went through this before, and there was no consensus – referring to the hiring of former city manager Bob Payton who didn’t work out for the city.
“I don’t want to go through that again,” said Mayersohn. “We found consensus with one person [Knutson], I know that’s not my top choice, but we will look at the person that’s the best for my city and city staff.”
With it remaining 3-2 for Morando, with no chance of consensus, Kagan called a vote to hire Morando.
Cutler, Walker, and Kagan all voted for Morando and Hunschofsky and Mayersohn, who preferred Knutson voting no.
Next step: Morando will negotiate a contract through Slavin Management Consultants.