From 132 candidates to six, the City Manager position is up for grabs in Panama City Beach and it's anyone's ball game. Wednesday, they city was one step closer to deciding upon the new role. It's been a highly sought after position and now it's down to 6 potential candidates to replace 33 year veteran, Richard Jackson
Two locals are in the mix, but it doesn't mean they're a shoe in and after Wednesday's interviews, the Council says they've got a hard decision to make.
"A City Manager walks a very fine line because he has five bosses and he's got to keep us all happy," said Mayor Gayle Oberst.
But first, the Council needs to vote on the six qualified candidates. They come from a wide variety of back grounds.
Michael Czymbor is the former Fernandino Beach City Manager, with 25 years of credentialed City Manager experience.
Stephen Cottrell is the former City Manager for Windsor, Vermont and boasts over 25 years experience, as well as expert writing abilities
Architect Thaddeus Cohen is a former Pensacola CRA Director and has spent time working for the state of Florida.
Published author, Bill Looney, boasts 30 years of government experience.
But at the end of the interviews, the majority of the Council's discussion was surrounded around the two locals---Bay County Assistant City Manager, Bob Majka and Panama City Beach Assistant City Manager, Mario Gisbert.
"I feel like the fit is excellent, the credentials are there, especially for Majka and Gisbert," said Councilman John Reichard.
For Mayor Oberst, Gisbert has more work to do.
"I think he needs more time working with people and managing people," said Oberst.
Oberst said that she liked what Majka had to say, and made mention of his rising through the ranks in Bay County.
Of course, not all are happy about the idea of staying local.
"I've always said, I want to go outside the gene pool and that means go out of town," said Councilwoman Josie Strange.
The Council will determine their new City Manager by vote, Thursday at 2 PM at the Panama City Beach City Hall.