By Caitlyn Finnegan
The Alachua County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to enter into contract negotiations with former Greenville, S.C., city manager James Bourey for the position of county manager.
During its special meeting held Tuesday morning, the commission discussed what qualities they were looking for in an ideal candidate for the county manager position before voting on their top three choices and finally their top pick. Stockton Whitten, deputy county manager in Brevard County, took the second slot for consideration, with Charles “Randy” Oliver, CEO of Oliver & Associates in Pensacola and a former county administrator for Escambia County, taking the third.
Bourey is currently the director of corporate development at Elliot Davis, an accounting and consulting firm in Greenville. He has 35 years of experience serving in local government, including the positions of city manager in Greenville from 2004 to 2010, county administrator in Hennepin County, Minn., and senior assistant county administrator in Hillsborough County.
If the commission is unable to reach an agreement with Bourey, the contract will come back before the board to decide on either raising the salary ceiling or to begin negotiations with Whitten.
The details of the contract also took up much of the discussion during the meeting, with commissioners grappling over benefits, allowances and other salary package incentives for more than an hour. “It is very difficult to compare apple to apples because some of them are in the private sector,” Comm. Susan Baird said.
The debate finally brought around the motion to agree on a base salary of $160,000, with package benefits including up to $6,000 in relocation expenses, a $450 monthly car allowance, life insurance, Florida Retirement System benefits and a maximum authorized ceiling of $227,000.
Commissioners passed the contract motion 3-2, with Comm. Hutchinson and Comm. Chestnut in dissent.
Former Alachua County Manager Randall Reid received a base salary of $179,000 when he left office to take the position of Sarasota County Manager in January 2012, according to the commission. Rick Drummond, the interim county manager, currently receives a salary of $160,000.
Before voting on the top three candidates, commissioners listed the top traits and characteristics they were looking for in a county manager. Among those listed were a high-energy leadership approach, demonstration of experience with referendums, strategic planning skills and whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for the community.