The search to replace retiring Lakeland City Manager Tony Delgado has been reduced from 126 candidates to eight. Deputy City Manager Shawn Sherrouse, now serving as interim city manager, made the first cut and says he’s excited about it.

Delgado, a 20-year city supervisor, received strong support from the public and from the City Commission in his five years as city manager. It’s now up to those commissioners to pick his replacement.

Delgado’s last day on the job is today.

Three months ago, Commissioners Bill Read and Phillip Walker wanted to promote Sherrouse and skip doing a national search. But a majority said they wanted the benefit of taking a look at who is available.

Sherrouse has served Lakeland since September 2016 and was promoted from assistant to deputy city manager on July 23, 2018. He also served as an assistant city manager in  Auburndale for four years.

“I’m obviously thrilled,” Sherrouse said. ”It makes me feel some validation, with 126 candidates under consideration. “It’s early in the process, but I’m excited.”

Illinois-based GovHR USA co-owner Heidi Voorhees conducted the search. She held video conferences with the top tier and narrowed the list to eight. Four of those eight currently work in Florida. It will be up to the commissioners to conduct interviews with the candidates and choose one.

Interviews with the top candidates will be scheduled for Oct. 7 and 9. They are tentatively slated  to be video conference interviews.

But Friday’s mandate from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which loosens the restrictions governing public protection from coronavirus, could change that. Among the easing of many restrictions, local government meetings are now  required  to operate  in person and with public participation.

After the initial interviews, commissioners are expected to narrow the field to three or four finalists for more in-depth, in-person interviews currently scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13.

“The city manager search yielded 126 resumes from 28 states, including 59 applications from Florida,” Voorheis wrote in her report to the city.

Voorhees interviewed 16 candidates and recommended eight for further consideration. They are, in alphabetical order: 

  • Marc Antonie-Cooper interim city manager, Deltona.
  • Carmen Y. Davis, former county administrator, Hinds County Mississippi.
  • Natasha S. Hampton, assistant city manager, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
  • Thomas J. Hutka, former director of public works, Broward County.
  • Alex “Ty” Kovach, executive director, Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, Illinois.
  • Ronda E. Perez, assistant city manager,  Lancaster, California. 
  • Richard Reade, executive director, Village of Palm Springs
  • Sherrouse

GovHR’s recruitment report:

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