By Joe Capozzi
Lynne Ladner, a former interim town manager in Pinellas County, will take over as interim town manager in Ocean Ridge.
Town commissioners voted 4-0 on Aug. 8 to hire Ladner after interviewing one other candidate, former Lake County Manager Alan Rosen. Commissioner Geoff Pugh was absent. Ladner formally accepted the job on Aug. 10.
Ladner planned to start Sept. 1, working alongside departing manager Tracey Stevens, whose last day is Sept. 11. Stevens has accepted the town manager job in Haverhill.
Commissioners hope to interview candidates for a full-time town manager in October and hire one by Thanksgiving. Ladner told commissioners she is interested in the full-time position.
“I am thrilled at this opportunity and I am excited to come next week and get started,’’ Ladner told commissioners after they approved her contract at a special meeting Aug. 25. “I look forward to working with all of you and everyone in the town.’’
Commissioners were impressed with Rosen, but felt Ladner was the better fit. Rosen had told commissioners he probably would not be interested in the full-time position because of family commitments.
“I think Lynne would be a good fit for keeping the boat afloat for the three months while we are looking for somebody else,’’ Mayor Susan Hurlburt said.
Ladner has more than 15 years of experience working in local governments in Florida, Michigan and Kansas. More recently she served as interim town manager in Kenneth City, a suburb of St. Petersburg.
She also has been working as a consultant for the city of Pahokee, a job she planned to leave before starting in Ocean Ridge.
Ladner will draw a paycheck based on a $100,000 annual salary for the first two weeks. On Sept. 12 her pay will increase to $132,500 a year, which Stevens was making.
The commission also gave Ladner permission to serve on a Florida League of Cities committee that will require her to attend a meeting once a month in Kissimmee.
At the Aug. 25 meeting, Ocean Ridge resident Terry Brown, a former commissioner, asked commissioners to give Ladner an overview about the town’s neighborhoods and political factions.
“I’m not trying to be cute or anything, but I want to be sure as soon as possible” that officials “give an orientation to the town in terms of demographics and neighborhoods where various tensions exist,’’ Brown said.
It’s important that Ladner is “aware of what happens in the town with various groups so there are no surprises. You dig what I’m saying?’’ Brown said.