Saturday, May 27, 2023

Michael Cernech Out as Delray Beach City Manager

Michael Cernech will not be Delray Beach’s city manager.

According to multiple sources, negotiations between Cernech and the city broke down on Friday. As City Commissioner Ryan Boylston put it last week, he and his colleagues had expected that the talks between Cernech and City Attorney Lynn Gelin would “button down” the issues and lead to a contract for approval next week.

Instead, Cernech informed city officials that he has withdrawn from consideration and will remain as the manager in Tamarac.

Late Sunday afternoon, Delray Beach released a statement. In it, Mayor Shelly Petrolia says that the city and Cernech had “mutually and amicably agreed to step away from contract negotiations.”

The statement went on, “From the start, it was important that we come to terms that were acceptable to both parties. Unfortunately in this case, we simply could not get there. We were excited at the possibility of having Mr. Cernech lead our team, and regret that it is no longer possible,” Petrolia says.

I have been told—but cannot confirm—that Homestead City Manager George Gretsas also has told the city that he’s not interested.

Michael Cernech, George Gretsas and Michael Napoli

Gretsas was the first choice of Petrolia. Boylston, Bill Bathurst and Adam Frankel favored Cernech. The other finalist was Miami Deputy City Manager Joseph Napoli. Commissioner Shirley Johnson ranked him first. The timing could not be worse. Also late last week, Assistant City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young resigned. She had been serving as the interim director of the departments of public works and utilities, both of which lack permanent directors.

The remaining assistant city manager, Suzanne Fisher, is new to the position after running the Department of Parks and Recreation.

I will have more in my regular Tuesday post.    

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Randy Schultz
Randy Schultz
Randy Schultz, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, has been a South Florida journalist since 1974. He worked for The Miami Herald until 1976 and for The Palm Beach Post from 1976 until 2014, where he served as managing editor and editorial page editor. Since 2014, he has written a politics blog, commentaries and other articles for Boca magazine. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Florida Magazine Association and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. Randy has lived in Boca Raton with his wife, Shelley Huff-Schultz, since 1985. His son, daughter-in-law and their three children also live in Boca Raton.

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