By Margie Plunkett
Help Wanted: Manalapan town manager.
Manalapan is in the market for a new town manager after Gregory Dunham, who has filled the role for most of this decade, told commissioners at their November meeting he is retiring from municipal government and will step down early next year.
“I’ve been a city manager for 28 years,” Dunham said in an interview later. “While I enjoyed every part of it, I would like to try something else. It’s a personal choice; I’m not dissatisfied with the profession. I’ve been the public sector since high school and I’m looking for a change. ”
Dunham counted among his accomplishments “managing through the problem we had on our well” and fire rescue services secured with Palm Beach.
Mayor Tom Gerrard asked if Dunham would join the private sector, Dunham said that remains to be seen. He later said he has several possibilities in the works.
The commission said it would start a search for candidates to fill the job, but noted that the task would likely be less difficult than when Dunham was hired. Job seekers are much more plentiful now, the panel noted, as the nation’s unemployment rate climbed to 10.2 percent in October in the wake of the recession.
The town manager essentially oversees administration of the town and reports to the commission. The town attorney and Dunham will complete a transition plan ahead of the Dec. 15 commission meeting.
During the meeting, Commissioners Marilyn Hedberg and Tom Thornton praised Dunham’s work and said they were sorry to see him go.
Dunham has been in South Florida municipal administration for about 15 years. He joined Manalapan as town manager in 2002 after a short stint in Wellington. Dunham had previously held the same position in Ocean Ridge for four and a half years and before that, was assistant city manager of Palm Beach Gardens from 1994 to 1999.
Dunham completed his undergraduate work in Texas, where he held positions as a police officer and an assistant city manager. He headed for Florida State University in 1992 to begin work on his master’s of public administration.