Deputy City Manager Shawn Sherrouse will become interim city manager after Tony Delgado retires as the city of Lakeland’s top administrator on Sept. 26.

The appointment is a result of a unanimous vote by the City Commission at the end of a budget hearing on Thursday evening.

Sherrouse, 48, is one of 119 people who have applied to become Lakeland’s next city manager. He will receive a 10% raise over his $145,000-a-year annual salary during the interim period.

The need for an interim city manager became apparent Tuesday when commissioners discovered that it will be mid-October before they finish interviewing finalists for the city manager job. So the earliest they would select a new city manager is three weeks after Delgado’s retirement.

Commissioners received an update on the city manager search Tuesday from Heidi Voorhees, co-owner of GovHR, the company commissioners chose to conduct the search.

Voorhees told commissioners she was narrowing the field of 119 applicants and talking with 15 to 20 top candidates this week and next week.

Commissioners will get a recruitment report from Voorhees on Sept. 25 and will meet with her on Sept. 29 to discuss Voorhees’ video interviews with candidates; they will then select six to seven semi-finalists.

Those semi-finalists will be interviewed by commissioners on Oct. 7 and 9. Tentatively, the interviews will be conducted via video conference, according to Assistant City Manager Emily Colón, who is coordinating between the commission and Voorhees on the recruitment.

After those interviews, commissioners will choose finalists, who would come to Lakeland for in-person interviews that are currently scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13, Colón said. Though nothing is firm, there are discussions about sessions between the finalists and the city staff and community stakeholders, she said.

Commissioners discuss the city manager search with Heidi Voorhees, top right, during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioner Bill Read suggested during Tuesday’s meeting that Sherrouse be appointed interim city manager. But commissioners decided to wait on a decision after Commissioner Chad McLeod said he wanted to be sure Sherrouse was comfortable with the interim position since he’s a candidate for the permanent job.

McLeod reported back on Thursday that he had talked with Sherrouse, who “said absolutely he was willing to step into (the interim role) for continuity of staff.”

Sherrouse, a Lakeland native and Marine Corps veteran, was hired as assistant city manager in September 2016 and became deputy city manager in July 2018. Previously he worked for the city of Auburndale for 10 years as assistant city manager and community development director and for the Polk Property Appraiser’s Office for 11 years.

If Sherrouse is not chosen to become the next city manager, he would be able to return to the deputy city manager job at his current salary.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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