Carrabelle wrestles with what to call their head of government operations

Carrabelle Commissioner believes that because City Administrator Courtney Millender is now performing all the duties of a city manager, she ought to have the title.

But his colleagues on the city commission didn’t see it that way, and on Dec. 6, they voted 3-2 against making the change.

At the tail end of the meeting, Allen moved and Frank Mathes seconded, a motion to name Millender the city manager, but stressed that it would not mean an increase in pay.

“It’s just a title, not a pay raise,” said Allen. “There’s not one thing that would change in this job description.”

Allen bolstered his case by stressing that the city charter includes a provision for having a city manager, although no one has held the title since John McInnis held the title several years back. Unlike Millender, McInnis was a city manager by profession.

He also provided evidence from the Florida municipal officials manual, which indicated there was no prohibition in Florida law for assigning the title to Millender.

Still, his colleagues thought the change would create additional problems for the city.

“There’s quite a bit of distinction between those two (titles),” said Commissioner Tony Millender. “It’s going to narrow our window of opportunity if the city ever wants to expand. The city manager would have more duties and more money. It would restrict us.”

But Allen countered that Millender is already doing the job of a city manager, and that in the event the city wanted to bring in another individual with a formal background as a city manager, Millender’s title could be changed back and her duties realigned.

Allen’s move came in the midst of what has been a year-old re-write of the city’s job descriptions. Tom Magnan, a human resource consultant, has been working with a committee since April, and he was on hand for last week’s meeting.

“There are some differences in the charter with what Courtney is doing right now,” he told commissioners. “Whichever way you go it doesn’t matter to me.”

Mayor Brenda La Paz said a city manager would have even more duties than a city administrator, and said she would prefer the matter be referred to Magnan and the human resource committee for a rewrite of job descriptions.

City Attorney Dan Hartman weighed in as well. “From lawyer’s standpoint, if I was from the outside looking in and wanted to know what are city manager duties, it would potentially cause confusion,” he said. “I would assume we were operating under a city manager.”

In the end, Keith Walden joined with La Paz and Millender to defeat the motion.