Islamorada Administrative Center. KEYS WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

Seventeen names are on a list as semifinalists for the Islamorada village manager position. A council tasked with selection is still figuring out how many to interview from the list. The council will meet Tuesday, Nov. 14 to conduct Zoom interviews.  

Following the departure of Ted Yates, former village manager, council members decided to advertise the job. The council took a different route from the previous two councils, which worked with a head hunting firm to find former village manager Greg Oravec in 2021 and Yates in 2022. 

About 45 applications came to the village, with interested men and women from Florida and other states who believed they possessed the credentials to take on the job. From that list, each council member worked with their own liaisons from the community to develop their finalist lists. The council members further reduced their lists by Oct. 25 and provided the village clerk with six to eight preferred candidates for interviews.

All council members are seeking to interview Douglas Maxeiner. He recently retired after serving 30 years in government positions, including 21 years as an administrator at Illinois municipalities. He recently served as administrator of East Moline. Maxeiner said his management style is highly collaborative and team-oriented, tapping into the strengths of the organization. He believes his philosophy will mesh well with Islamorada’s management team.

“The village council and community will appreciate my ability to assess problems quickly and effectively while explaining complex issues succinctly and clearly,” Maxeiner said in his cover letter. 

Questions posed to the candidates asked them what their minimum compensation would be for the job, to which Maxeiner replied anywhere between $150,000 and $175,000. 

Four council members are looking to sit down with David Couch, a business administrator for the city of Virginia Beach’s planning and community development department. Couch oversees 143 employees and a $75 million annual operating budget. He previously held a business administrator position with Virginia Beach Economic Development. Couch’s responsibilities include strategy development and implementation along with traditional business attraction, retention and expansion. 

Couch said he grew up in a coastal community. He’s seeking $200,000 in minimum compensation. 

“I am acutely familiar with the unique issues of an oceanfront community both for the year-round residents and the visitors,” Couch said in his cover letter. 

Remaining candidates on the finalist list only received interest from one or two council members. Among the candidates drawing interest from two council members were Elizabeth Vogel, current Missaukee County administrator in Michigan; Michael Brillhart, current city administrator for the Ohio city of Wapakoneta; William Lawrence, city manager for Bowling Green, Florida; Patrick Marsh, former city manager for Fernley, Nevada; and Christopher Russo, former city manager for Sunny Isles, Florida.

Those drawing interest from one council member are Ricardo Mendez, former assistant city administrator for West Palm Beach; Robert Cole, former village manager of Scarsdale, New York; Maryanne Crawford, town manager of New Shoreham, Rhode Island; Fred Ventresco, town administrator for the North Carolina town of Pinetops; Angelo DiPierro, financial manager with Palm Beach County; and Daniel Finz, town manager/senior management consultant for Lawrenceville, Virginia. 

A few candidates appeared on the finalist list but didn’t receive any council interest for interviews. They include Carl Brown, assistant manager of grants and capital programming for Jacksonville Transportation Authority; Michael Szlosek, former business operations manager for Enfield Public Works in Connecticut; Jonathan Lynn, city manager of Rincon, Georgia; and Jonathan Kohn, senior director of mission advancement for YMCA in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.