By Dan Moffett
Ocean Ridge appears to have found its next town manager in Jamie Titcomb, the former Palm Beach County League of Cities executive director.
Jamie Titcomb has been offered the town manager position in Ocean Ridge.
Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star
Titcomb, 58, and Town Attorney Ken Spillias have worked out details of an agreement that the town commissioners are expected to approve at their Oct. 5 meeting. Titcomb replaces the retiring Ken Schenck who has held the position since 2006.
After interviewing four other candidates, commissioners said they chose Titcomb because of his familiarity with Ocean Ridge and the county, his experience as a town manager in several other coastal communities, and perhaps most of all, his willingness to tackle the town’s budget work.
Karen Hancsak, who has overseen the town’s budget preparation for most of her 25 years as town clerk, is retiring later this year, and the commission wants to shift the financial duties to the next manager.
“We’re looking for a heavy hand in the financing,” Mayor Geoff Pugh said.
“The budget is a blueprint document,” Titcomb told commissioners. “It’s what we go by. I’m very comfortable dealing with that.”
Titcomb has been the town manager of Melbourne Beach since early 2014, and before that served as the interim town manager in Lake Park. In 2011, he had a contentious seven-month tenure as North Palm Beach manager that ended with his dismissal, without cause. Some Town Council members complained of morale problems with staff.
“I was never actually given a reason (for the firing),” Titcomb said, “other than I wasn’t a good fit.”
He deflected criticism about morale problems under his leadership: “I have a knack for putting very good teams of people together.”
Titcomb’s settlement agreement with North Palm Beach prohibits both sides from commenting about the reasons for his termination.
Ocean Ridge commissioners were impressed by the good reviews he got for his work in Melbourne Beach and Lake Park, and Commissioner James Bonfiglio thought the connections Titcomb made through his 13 years with the League of Cities would benefit the town.
“He knows all the people we have to work with,” Bonfiglio said.
Commissioner Richard Lucibella worried that Titcomb was “overqualified” for the job — he earned $135,000 with North Palm Beach and likely will receive about $30,000 less from Ocean Ridge — and that his recent history suggests he might not be willing to commit to the town for much longer than the short term.
“I don’t move by default,” Titcomb said of his job-changing. “I move by design.”
The other candidates commissioners interviewed were: David Harden, the former Delray Beach city manager; Mark Kutney, former town manager of Loxahatchee Groves; Violet (Lee) Leffingwell, former town manager of Mangonia Park; and Joseph Gerrity, the former Fernandina Beach city manager.
Gerrity was the choice of a majority of commissioners but after interviewing, he withdrew from consideration, telling town officials the Ocean Ridge area was “too urban” for him.Ú