The Alachua County Commission voted Tuesday to end discussions with the third candidate they offered the county manager position, and to extend an offer to the deputy manager currently serving the county.
The commission voted 4-1 to begin negotiations with deputy county manager Betty Baker and simultaneously to end negotiations with Randy Oliver, a former county manager of Escambia county and now a consultant with Randy Oliver and Associates of Pensacola, Fla.
Oliver was the third candidate the commission offered the county manager position. Discussions with James Bourney of Greenville, S.C., and Stockton Whitten from Brevard County ended with both candidates declining the commission’s offers.
Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson put forward a motion that the commission offer the county manager position to Baker with an opening offer at $160,000 per year, which was on par with the three other offers the county extended.
Baker, who is in the DROP program, is being offered the position until her prescribed retirement date of Nov. 2014. Hutchinson said Baker did not ask for the position, but by appointing Baker will allow the county additional time to find a longer-term manager.
“We know Ms. Baker, we know her to be an extremely competent manager,” Hutchinson said. “She gets all of the difficult jobs that this county has. She is fully qualified and taking nothing away from Mr. Oliver or any of the other candidates, Ms. Baker is what we need now.”
Commissioner Susan Baird put forward a motion to accept the counter offer from Oliver for increased compensation, but the motion was not seconded and did not advance.
Listen to the commission deliberations on the county manager from today’s meeting.