By Caitlyn Finnegan
The Alachua County Commission has decided to move forward with negotiations for the county manager position after the first candidate has withdrawn from consideration.
Stockton Whitten, the county’s No. 2 choice and the current deputy manager for Brevard County, will be contacted and offered the original contract offered to the first choice candidate, James Bourey. Bourey withdrew from the selection process after facing critique from the community on his past positions and opposition from members of the Board regarding his strong negotiating skills during the counteroffer process.
County commissioners requested that Whitten respond to their offer by 10 a.m. on June 18, giving the candidate a full week to review the contract and speak with each of the commissioners individually to reach an acceptable counteroffer. The commission will discuss his response the same day during its regular meeting.
The negotiation process took center stage during the commission’s morning meeting session Tuesday as commissioners argued over the treatment of Bourey during his counteroffer.
Commissioner Mike Byerly said the commission should focus on negotiating in good faith moving forward, taking steps to avoid a combative and unfriendly environment similar to the treatment of Bourey.
“We hounded the person out of the county, and I’m not real proud of the way that happened,” Byerly said.