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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ High Springs City Commissioners chose their top candidate for the City Manager’s position following four interviews conducted via Zoom on Oct. 27. Previously, Commissioners narrowed down the roster of 27 candidates to five and scheduled interviews with each to choose the top candidate. However, one candidate withdrew from consideration.

To facilitate faster action on their part, the City held a Special Commission meeting rather than a workshop so Commissioners would be able to vote on their top choice immediately following their interviews.

Although all of the candidates interviewed well and presented outstanding resumes, Ashley Stathatos, who was the last candidate interviewed, impressed them the most.

Comments about her energy and the diversity of work experience she has performed in the past, which fit well with High Springs’ current needs, made her a standout as all of the Commissioners chose her as their top candidate.

“First and foremost, she has been a city manager and has past experience in managing water and sewer projects,” said Commissioner Scott Jamison. “In addition, it was evident that she had researched the city and came prepared to talk on such. Finally,” he said, “I was impressed with her energy and enthusiasm.”

Another asset was Stathatos’ ability to be in High Springs two weeks after being hired. As current City Manager Joel DeCoursey, Jr. is scheduled to leave the position on Nov. 30, it is likely there will be time for overlap, which pleased Commissioners.

Stathatos indicated she has over 20 years of municipal experience including planning, economic development, overseeing capital projects, acted as liaison to the Planning and Zoning Board and Board of Adjustment, worked with the Economic and Community Development Boards and the Parks Advisory Board.

Other Commissioners commented as well as to what made her the overwhelming favorite for the job.

“After the interview process, I had the feeling that Ms. Stathatos had the education and the experience to lead the city effectively,” said Commissioner Nancy Lavin. She also noted that Stathatos had researched the community and had enthusiasm and energy that would be welcome at City Hall.

“She also appears to be someone who gets involved in the community and will be willing to open up further channels of communication for our staff and citizens,” Lavin said. “I am excited about this new leadership choice for our city.”

“Ashley answered questions with examples of the work she has performed in her current and previous positions,” said Commissioner Linda Jones. “She was energetic and positive and she was overwhelmingly the number one choice,” she said. “I’m very excited to get her onboard.”

Stathatos has earned a Masters in Public Administration and her BA in Political Science. In addition, her resume indicates she has continued her education with Texas Certified Public Manager Program Courses at Texas State and training courses with the International Economic Development Council.

The next step in the hiring process is for the city attorney to conduct a background check and begin negotiations on a contract. The published salary for the position is $100,000 annually with additional items that have been provided to previous city managers.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 12. It is likely the City will hold a Special Commission meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5, should the city attorney successfully complete the candidate’s background check and contract agreement. Whenever the meeting occurs, Commissioners will consider the negotiated contract with Stathatos, and if approved, formally hire her as the High Springs City Manager.

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