ARCHER – The Archer City Commission selected Zeriah Folston as its new city manager at a special meeting last Thursday.

The sole reason for the convening was to interview the five finalists for the job, and Commissioner Doug Jones said Folston was the best of a good group.

“When he got to the podium, it was pretty obvious who our choice would be,” Jones said. “He filled the room with energy.”

The city remains in contract negotiations with Folston but hopes to be finished within the next two weeks.

Folston is currently the Assistant Supervisor of Elections for Alachua County. His previous experience spans a wide spectrum within city and county government, ranging from work as a budget analyst with the county to an internship with former Alachua City Manager and current State Representative Clovis Watson, Jr.

Folston was one of an initial 18 applicants that included current Archer Interim City Manager John Glanzer and other city managers from around the state.

Despite his lack of direct city management experience, Folston was the top recommendation of a management consulting service employed by the city according to City Manager Selection Committee minutes from Nov. 20.

Jones said the city commission agreed with the committee once the process moved from looking strictly at resumes to interacting with the candidates personally.

“His energy is infectious, and I am really looking forward to working with him,” Jones said. “He has a lot of local experience, having mentored under Clovis Watson when he was manager with Alachua and Randall Reid when he was county manager. And he brings depth of experience and expertise – his budget experience is a huge bonus for the city.”

Jones was hopeful that Folston will bring his enthusiasm to bear on Archer’s recreation department.

“I suspect he will be very involved in the community,” Jones said. “He mentioned many, many times during the interview wanting to get the recreation program really up and running. He has a 14-year-old son and seems to be very active recreationally.”

Folston will look to bring stability to a position that has seen rapid turnover over the previous year: former City Manager Al Grieshaber, Jr. and Assistant City Manager John Mayberry both resigned at the end of June following controversy surrounding Facebook posts Mayberry made which drew protests from the local NAACP branch.

Grieshaber was initially replaced on an interim basis by Xavier Bishop, who in turn resigned after only six weeks over family concerns. Glanzer – who had previously served as Archer City Manager from 2009 to 2012 – then replaced Bishop as interim manager while also submitting an application to fill the position permanently.

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