Former Palm Beach Manager Thomas Bradford, who was rated as the most qualified applicant by a search consultant, dropped out of the running for Village manager last week.
Bradford said he will soon be 67 and decided that after talking with friends and family, he realized he no longer had “the time or inclination to do what’s required.”
“I love municipal work,” Bradford said. “But people don’t realize it takes day-and-night work in order to be successful” in implementing major projects. He said he was unaware that he had been rated the top choice by the Village’s consultant.
Bradford’s withdrawal from the search process leaves the Council in the somewhat awkward position of choosing from individuals who did not score nearly as well on a comprehensive evaluation made by consultant Constance Hoffman, a former Fort Lauderdale manager. Hoffman had given Bradford the highest marks. “No one comes close to his experience, both in breadth or depth,” she wrote.
By comparison, Hoffman wrote that Chris Rose and Steve Williamson, who both held positions in the City of Miami, were in distant second and third places to Bradford.
Hoffman wrote that the two other finalists — Brian Lynch and Joe Fernandez — were not qualified for the position and recommended the Village Council drop them from future consideration.
After Bradford, Hoffman found that Rose, a former City of Miami Budget Director, had the most knowledge of local government. She summarized Rose as being steady, reliable, professional and a mentor to staff, who she described as “loving him.” On the downside, Hoffman remarked that Rose had little operations experience.
Steve Williamson, a former Army officer and director of capital improvements for the City of Miami, was also found to be qualified by Hoffman. But she wrote that he would “have a huge learning curve because his municipal experience is so limited.” Hoffman wrote: “He is focused and disciplined, yet, at the same time there is a warmth about him. He is easy to talk to, and has a sense of humor. As one of the people I spoke to about him said, he has adapted well to civilian life.”
At least one member of the Village Council cautioned to not to place too much emphasis on Hoffman’s rankings. Ed London said that Hoffman, a former manager, tended to give municipal experience too much weight. “Everyone has biases in life, depending on what we like and don’t like.” He said he hopes the Council will make a final selection at its meeting Tuesday.
“We have wasted enough time,” London said.
Mayor Mike Davey said he wants to hear directly from the consultants at Tuesday’s meeting and said he is not planning on making a final selection at the session.
Police Chief Charles Press is serving as interim manager. He was not a candidate for the manager position.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.