After serving as interim city manager for the past four months, Lance Johnson is expected to permanently become the city manager after the Dec. 17 city council meeting.

If the contract is finalized, Johnson’s position as Destin parks and recreation director will join several other open positions within the city.

The process for hiring within the city begins internally. City Human Resources Manager Karen Jankowski said they are required to advertise internally before they begin to look for external candidates, but there’s no time frame to determine when they do that.

“It’s a case by case basis,” she said. “If we hear we’ve got some potential candidates, we’ll wait a bit on the external (search), but if we don’t feel we’ll have any internals, we’ll run external simultaneously.”

As soon as Johnson’s contract is solidified as city manager, Jankoswki said she will immediately move forward with the process of hiring a new parks and recreation director.

She feels like there are some potential candidates within the city already, but if not, they will start advertising the position as soon as possible.

The position of public information manager is also up for grabs after former manager Doug Rainer resigned on Nov. 23 and is now working as the public information officer for the city of Fort Walton Beach.

Jankoswki said they’ve already interviewed two candidates and have received a few more applications in the past few days. They hope to have the position filled before Christmas.

“This one has been really tough,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of really qualified candidates for this one so we’re trying to make the best decision possible by doing reference checks and the assessments.”

The position is currently being advertised on the city’s website with a starting annual salary of $46,681.00.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience involving public relations to meet the minimum qualifications.

The director of public services position is also waiting to be filled, but Jankowski said it might take a couple more weeks to do so.

That position currently has one internal and four external candidates, according to Jankowski. The HR manager said they may do second round interviews or have the candidates come interview in person, but they haven’t decided yet.

“We’re currently doing interviews and assessments,” she said. “We really want to make sure we have the right candidate.”