Pratt suggested Coby as interim council executive, but no go

Council member Megan Pratt suggested Al Coby as an interim council executive at the Committee of the Whole. The two top finalists for the position have been contacted and said that they will not accept the lower salary of $60,000–$75,000. Councilman Brian Spencer objected to having an interim and in particular Coby. He didn’t want the council to stay in a holding pattern.

Council member Sherri Myers disagreed with the City Attorney’s opinion that the city council doesn’t have the power to hire a staff. “I don’t accept his opinion as the definitive legal authority,” said Myers.

She pointed out that both Congress and the Florida Legislature have the power to hire their own staffs. Myers also disagreed with the salary set by Mayor Hayward and believes the council can set the salary at whatever pay scale it wishes.

Council member John Jerralds pointed out that the Mr. Coby never applied for the position. He suggested that the council move forward with those three candidates who agreed to accept the Mayor’s pay range to come to the council for interviews. He made that motion, Council member Larry Johnson seconded. Townsend also wanted to move forward.

Johnson said that he agreed with Messer’s opinion.

Council member P.C. Wu added that if the three prospects don’t work out. He has no problem with having Coby fulfill the position on the interim basis. Myers agreed with Wu’s position.

Pratt changed her position and agreed to have the three candidates visit Pensacola.

Jerralds’ motion passed unanimously.