By Mary Thurwachter
After a day of interviewing seven candidates on April 13, the Lantana Town Council unanimously chose Deborah Manzo as the town’s new manager.
Although Manzo, who is Greenacres assistant city manager, won’t officially begin until May 7, she was introduced during the April 23 council meeting.
“I look so forward to working with all of you, council, staff and residents,” she said. “I’ve been taking notes tonight.”
She will take over for Mike Bornstein, Lantana’s manager for 12 years, who took a similar post in Lake Worth last month.
Mayor Dave Stewart said there were many reasons he liked Manzo, including her 27 years of municipal experience with only two cities — Greenacres and Juno Beach.
“She has many qualifications and is well-versed on coastal communities,” he said. “She had a willingness to accept the current contract, which means a decrease in pay for her.”
And she was willing to commit to at least 10 years, Stewart said.
Another plus for Stewart was Manzo’s experience in working with FEMA and NIMS (the National Incident Management System).
All of the seven finalists (narrowed from 27 applicants) were asked the same questions.
“She blew away the competition with her answers,” Stewart said.
When asked if she was overqualified or underqualified, Manzo, 50, said “neither,” but that she was just the right fit for the job.
Manzo, who lives in Royal Palm Beach, will be paid $97,476 annually, the same as Bornstein and about $20,000 less than she makes in Greenacres.
She also will receive a $450 a month car allowance and 80 additional hours of vacation time.
Other town manager finalists, narrowed from a field of 27 applicants, were Michael Morrow, operations director in Palm Beach Gardens; Vincent Finizio, former manager of Belle Glade and Pahokee; Cheryl Harrison Lee, former manager of Eatonville (near Orlando); former Manalapan manager Thomas Heck; former Highland Beach manager Dale Sugerman; and Anna Yeskey, director of the Palm Beach County Intergovernmental Coordination Program and special projects coordinator in Lake Clarke Shores. Ú