September 17, 2010 at 3:57 am

Flagler Beach city manager candidate withdraws

Source: The Dayton Beach News Journal

FLAGLER BEACH — A contentious City Commission meeting ended tonight with commissioners still looking for a new city manager after an X-rating led to the departure of their leading candidate.

After accepting candidate Scott Janke’s offer to withdraw, city commissioners struggled with how to fill the position.

Janke offered to withdraw his name from consideration when revelations surfaced he was fired from his previous city manager job in Fort Myers Beach because of his marriage to an adult-film star.

In a telephone interview earlier today, Janke said he offered to eliminate himself from consideration “because of all the commotion that’s been arising” over his application.

Janke, who has been separated since January from his wife, Annabela Mote Janke, who performs in adult films under the name Jazella Moore, said he decided to leave it up to commissioners if the controversy was “making them uncomfortable.”

Janke said he understands the pressure elected officials can get from their constituents.

“At the end of the day, they’re elected by the people, and they have to deal with it,” Janke said. “If they were OK with all the media attention they’re getting, I’d love to have the job.”

All five commissioners participated in the discussion, with Commissioner Ron Vath participating via telephone. Vath is out of town attending to personal business and is not expected to return until sometime in October.

With Interim City Manager Bernie Murphy set to leave Oct. 1, commissioners agreed to interview the remaining top three candidates for the post — Edward Sealover, Bruce Campbell and Gary Word — Sept. 29.

Before reaching that decision, however, commissioners considered a motion by Commissioner Steve Settle to name Campbell, a retired executive with the Timken Co. and a Flagler Beach employee, city manager without a contract for a period of one year.

“I think it’s the best of all possible worlds,” Settle said.

Commissioner Joy McGrew, who voted against Settle’s motion, said she is “greatly struggling” with the idea of hiring someone who has no city manager experience. “When you work in the private sector, you do not have the restraints, the restrictions you have in government,” she said. “I think the city needs someone that has background from government.”

Mayor Alice Baker reiterated her desire for a local candidate to be hired.

City managers are “like a box of chocolates. When you open them up, you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Baker said, adding that the number of managers hired in recent years has “put us back years and years.”

Resident Bob Chase was more blunt in his assessment of what commissioners need to do in selecting a city manager.

“Let’s go with someone who knows what the hell he’s doing,” he said.

Commission Chairman John Feind reminded residents there is still a lot more work to do to find a new city manager.

“No matter what we do, we’re not going to hire someone tonight,” he said. “We’re not voting to hire anyone tonight.”

Feind said further background checks would need to be conducted and a contract negotiated with whoever is selected for the post.