On January 15, the Deerfield Beach City Commission will have a special session to vote on whether to fire its city manager of three years, Mike Mahaney. That motion was brought at Tuesday's raucous meeting (video here). This afternoon, I spoke with the maker of the motion, Commissioner Bill Ganz.
"If you go back to when this was put on the agenda in May [by Mayor Peggy Noland], I had spoken with Mike a few weeks before about things that needed to be improved," says Ganz, who declined to be more specific about what those things were. "I told him it would be off the record, just a discussion between me and him."
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The conventional wisdom had long been that Noland and Commissioner Marty Popelsky were ready to fire Mahaney at the first opportunity and that Ganz was the swing vote on the five-member commission.
That put Ganz in about the same position as Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, who recently decided that his own commission was evenly divided about City Manager George Gretsas and that the best course would be to find a city manager who could enjoy broader support.
For a clue about what Ganz found lacking in Mahaney, I asked him what qualities he would be looking for in the next city manager, if Mahaney's fired next Friday, as expected. "Communication is the key," says Ganz. "Also, leadership and trust."
When I spoke with Noland earlier this week, she told me that she wanted to look outside City Hall for the next city manager. "I don't believe there's anybody who's working for the city right now that I would thinking about putting in that office," she said. She told me she supports the idea of hiring a recruiting firm to conduct a national search, and that in the meantime she's confident that Burgess Hanson will be able to handle the job on an interim basis.