Manager candidate for Glades County withdraws

GLADES COUNTY — The top choice of the commissioners of Glades County to fill their empty county manager’s chair withdrew from consideration for the post last week after her family’s plans reportedly changed.

Glades County Commission Chairman John Ahern confirmed Wednesday that Jennifer James-Mesloh, village manager in the small town of Newberry on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, withdrew her name from consideration for the post on Friday, Aug. 3, after having conferred with her husband.

The previous Monday, July 30, the Glades commissioners had voted to offer her the job after spending much of the day interviewing their four finalists.

According to Mr. Ahern, Mrs. James-Mesloh later backed out after conferring with her husband. The chairman said he’d learned of her decision just before leaving for a weeklong vacation. He related:

“We found out on Friday, she withdrew from being considered for the job. After the meeting, (County Attorney) Richard Pringle and I had met with her and we talked back and forth, and she was wanting to talk to her husband. What she said was … he had planned on retiring and then they were going to move back to Florida if she got the job. Well, somewhere in the process he changed his mind about retiring. They have a son that’s going to be a sophomore in high school, so he decided he didn’t want to retire, and she decided it wasn’t going to be good for their family for her to have a job in Florida and him to be in Michigan.”

Mr. Ahern said it will be up to the board of commissioners to decide the next move. The matter was set to be on the agenda anyway for their regular meeting next Tuesday, Aug. 14. But now, instead of considering an employment contract with their top choice, the commissioners will have to decide whether to choose another potential manager from among their remaining three finalists, seek other applicants or take another course altogether.

“It was kind of shocking,” said the board chairman. “We didn’t see it coming. But it was her decision.”

Now, Mr. Ahern explained, “we’ve got several options. We could go to the number two person; we could re-rank (the finalists) with the ones that are there; we could readvertise. We’ll discuss it then and try to see what our next step is.”

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