The search for a new city manager continues as officials filter through applications.
According to Destin Public Information Manager Doug Rainer, 55 candidates applied for the position before the application deadline of Sept. 22. Among those candidates was Interim City Manager and Destin Parks and Recreation Director Lance Johnson.
Buz Eddy, a senior adviser with the Florida City and County Management Association and International City/County Management Association, has requested the mayor and City Council provide a short-list of 15-20 applicants.
After a 4-3 vote in July, city's previous manager, Carisse LeJeune, was asked to resign by the City Council. Council members cited “deep mistrust” between city staff and the council as a big problem. LeJeune was brought on as city manager in July 2016 after serving as interim city manager for about two months.
At the time of her resignation in July 2018, LeJeune had an annual salary of $123,821.15. During a city budget workshop in August, council members discussed increasing the annual salary.
During that meeting, Councilman Rodney Braden said the city will get what it pays for and if they don’t do something, they’re going to keep getting the “has-beens and wanna-bes” they’ve been getting.
He suggested setting the city manager’s salary at $180,000 but Councilman Tuffy Dixon suggested a range of $140,000 to $170,000 to prevent problems with other city employees who make less than the city manager.
A salary range of $123,000 to $140,000 annually has been presented to the current candidates.
During Monday's City Council, the board will provide feedback to Eddy and possibly narrow down their list of applicants, Rainer said.