City Manager Search: Reported Finalist Takes Florida Job, Two Candidates Remain

One of the reported finalists for the Geneva city manager position has accepted a city manager job in Florida after making local news for contract demands that rubbed his new employers the wrong way.

As reported by Geneva Believer on July 1, Martin Murphy was allegedly one of three finalists for the city manager job. One other finalist reportedly has three discrimination complaints in his past, and the other finalist is reported to be current interim city manager and director of neighborhood initiatives Sage Gerling.

UPDATE 7-10-18: The Bunnell City Commission decided NOT to hire Martin Murphy.

Murphy Demands More Money, Benefits

On July 2, Murphy met with Bunnell commissioners to negotiate the details of his contract after being offered the job on June 25. Although the commissioners were offering $80,000 per year, which was $5,000 more than their original offer, Murphy had begun negotiations by asking for a salary of $86,000-$90,000. Murphy also asked for $1,200 stipend for moving costs as well as 33 personal days per year, 5 more than the original 28 days offered, for his health insurance coverage to begin immediately rather than in three months like other new city staff, and for additional personal time to be accrued.

Martin Murphy, via

(Read more in the June 2 article “Bunnell’s Manager Candidate Wants $10,000 More Than City Is Offering, Plus Extra Benefits”)

Commissioners gave Murphy a deadline of Thursday, July 5 to let them know whether he would accept the generous offer. According to a July 3 story, Murphy was evasive and even uncooperative in his response to the reasonable deadline:

“I’ll certainly consider your offer. I’m not in a position right now to give you a final answer,” Murphy told them. “But I appreciate the opportunity to hear your discussions and I’ll give it serious consideration.”

When Mayor Catherine Robinson asked (Murphy) when commissioners could expect to hear back, he said: “You’re open to continued negotiations.”

Murphy’s demands left some commissioners very unhappy.

It was not the friendliest of negotiations, with Murphy already starting with the disadvantage of a fractured 3-2 vote when commissioners decided to negotiate with him.

He then wrote commissioners a letter asking for more time off, immediate health insurance and more salary, which rubbed several commissioners the wrong way, as they made clear in interviews before the meeting and during the meeting.

But Murphy’s stance took an abrupt turn just hours after the meeting.

After the July 3 story was posted, Murphy had a sudden and dramatic change of heart:

Update: Shortly after this article appeared, Martin Murphy was reportedly calling commissioners to let them know he was accepting the $80,000 offer.

Did Murphy discover that the Geneva community heard about his checkered past? Did he realize that delaying his decision on taking the Flagler job until the new Geneva city manager was announced would not sit well with the people of Geneva or the Geneva City Council?

Or did he change his mind for other reasons?

Regardless, there are now two reported finalists for the Geneva city manager job: Sage Gerling, and an as-yet-unnamed male candidate with three discrimination complaints in his past.

Interim Geneva City Manager Sage Gerling

Contact City Council today and let them know what you think.

Better yet, come to the Wednesday July 11th City Council meeting (7:00pm at the public safety building) and let them know what you think about the city manager search.

And if you want to see Sage as our new city manager, sign the petition here:

Petition: Sage for City Manager


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