NORTH PORT – North Port will only have two candidates to fill its vacant city manager job, after Caryn Gardner-Young dropped out of contention because she took another job closer to her current home on Florida’s east coast.
City Commissioner Debbie McDowell announced the development on her city Facebook page late Friday afternoon.
The decision means that two candidates, Alfred (Jerome) Fletcher, assistant chief administrative officer for Montgomery County, Maryland, and Matthew LeCerf, town manager for Johnstown, Colorado, remain in contention.
Gardner-Young, a planning supervisor at the Florida Department of Transportation District 4 office, said Monday that she is not yet revealing what position she accepted.
Doug Thomas, a senior vice president with SGR, the Texas-based firm that has handled the nationwide search for a new city manager, said in an email to the city that Gardner-Young chose the other position in part because she would not have to relocate.
Gardner-Young’s husband is disabled and her aging parents also live with her, “and the other opportunity eliminated the potential need to find new doctors for her husband and parents,” Thomas wrote.
The next step in the hiring process includes city commissioners finalizing the next batch of questions for Fletcher and LeCerf by Friday, so they can be included in a briefing book for the two remaining candidates.
They are scheduled to travel to North Port Aug. 8 and will tour the city and meet with city officials and commissioners Aug. 9 and 10.
A meet-and-greet with residents will be scheduled as part of the Aug. 9 session, while a public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 10. The start time for that is listed as 9 p.m. on the city web site but since the board is now choosing from two candidates, that may change.
Fletcher and Gardner-Young had both scored well with the five commissioners when they discussed the candidates at a public meeting July 19 and used a system similar to golf scoring, in which low tallies were best.
Fletcher received a 7 and Gardner-Young an 8, while LeCerf received a 10.
Fletcher is the assistant chief administrative officer with Montgomery County, Maryland, and is working on his accreditation as a city manager by the International City/County Management Association.
He also has experience as senior deputy director of the District of Columbia Government Department of Small & Local Business Development, where he also served as the chief of staff of the department of general services.
He also spent four years as an associate administrator for the federal General Services Administration, and has city government experience in Alexandria, Virginia, and Greensboro, North Carolina.
LeCerf is the town manager in Johnstown, Colorado, which has a population of roughly 17,500, a job he has held since October 2018.
LeCerf is an ICMA-credentialed manager – a key qualification for the City Commission in its candidate search.