The next step: background checks and interviews.
Of the 86 people who submitted resumes for the position of Palm Coast City Manager, 18 earned a vote of support from one or more council members during a Nov. 17 special council meeting, six of those earned a vote from two or more of the city's five council members, and only one — local attorney and former Flagler County Sheriff James Manfre — had the support of three council members.
The six with two or more votes of support — Manfre, Vince Akhimie, Anthony Carson, Shawn Henessee, Patrick Marsh and Scott Moye — will move forward to the next step of the city's selection process, which will include a nationwide background check and then invitations for interviews.
"We are looking to be a cohesive and unanimous body in our decision for the next city manager," Mayor David Alfin said at the meeting. "The is one of the top duties and functions of this council, and appointing the next city manager will be for the future of Palm Coast."
The Nov. 17 meeting was the council's first formal consideration of the applicants.
The meeting was brief and the discussion solely about procedure, not about the merits of individual candidates.
Council members each arrived at the meeting having reviewed binders containing application materials from everyone who'd applied. Each councilman had selected five as their top choices.
At the meeting, city staff members gave each councilman a form listing all the applicants. Each councilman placed marks next to their five choices and returned the forms to city staff members, who then created and printed a list of all of the candidates who'd been chosen by at least one candidate, noting which candidates had been chosen by two, or, in the case of Manfre, three: He'd been selected by council members Nick Klufas, Victor Barbosa and Ed Danko.
Alfin, after the tallies were counted, invited other council members to comment on their choices and choose their top pick from the list, so that the council could narrow the list to five applicants before moving to the next phase of the selection process.
But Councilman Eddie Branquinho noted that only six candidates had received support from two or more council members.
He suggested moving forward with those six, and other council members agreed.
Councilman Ed Danko asked if the council would be able to consider names aside from those six if it finds itself unable to converge around one of the six shortlisted candidates. Alfin suggested that would be a possibility.
City staff will have a private firm conduct background checks on the six candidates' civil, criminal employment history, as well as media coverage and social media activity.