By BRAD KELLAR
A split City Council voted Tuesday night to officially begin the search for a new city manager.
Following an executive session at the close of Tuesday’s regular agenda, the Council returned to the regular session and voted 4-3 to hire a firm to conduct the search.
Director of Public Works Massoud Ebrahim was appointed in May as the interim city manager for the City of Greenville, in the wake of the Council terminating former city manager Steven Alexander’s contract.
Council member Dan Perkins made the motion and was joined in the vote by Velma Del Bosque-Hobdy, Renee Francey and Jeff Dailey. Mayor Steve Reid, James Evans and Sandra Linson Bell voted against.
Tuesday’s vote did not specify a firm nor award a contract, but was seen as making a decision to proceed with the search process.
Director of Human Resources Barry Robinson previously told the Council the process of finding a new, permanent city manager could take at least four months, depending on whether the Council chose to employ a search firm or employ from within.
Reid explained Wednesday he voted against the measure because he wanted the Council’s focus centered on passing a balanced budget.
“We’ve got a really tough budget that we are looking at funding,” Reid said. “I don’t want us to get side-tracked.”
Ebrahim has indicated he intends to present the Council with a proposed budget at the July 23 regular session.
“I think Massoud is doing an admirable job of looking at the budget and making cuts that won’t affect the public,” Reid said.
A budget and tax rate must be passed by the start of the fiscal year on October 1.
The current City of Greenville budget is funded through a property tax rate of 69.9 cents per $100 valuation, unchanged from the previous fiscal year. The budget included several cuts but increased the amount the city will spend on maintaining local streets.