Lakeland city commissioners today selected GovHR USA of Northbook, Ill., to conduct the search for a new city manager to succeed Tony Delgado, who is retiring at the end of September.

The selection was made after commissioners spent nearly three hours hearing from and interviewing representatives of three finalist firms.

GovHR USA co-owner Heidi Voorhees, a city manger for 10 years in Wilmette, Ill., told commissioners she would personally oversee the Lakeland city manager search.

The firm, founded in 2009, has conducted more than 700 recruitments in 38 states including Florida, she said. GovHR USA is woman-owned and is committed to diversity and inclusion in local government, she said.

The firm that came in second in commissioners' preferences was Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas. If that firm had been chosen, the search would have been overseen by CEO Ron Hollifield in consultation with former Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas, who preceded Delgado and still lives in Lakeland.

The firm that came in third was Colin Baenziger & Associates of Daytona Beach Shores, which scored highest when commissioners ranked the firms Wednesday based on their written proposals.

GovHR USA did not make the top 3 in Wednesday's rankings, but was invited to present today after Ralph Anderson & Associates of Rocklin, Calif., withdrew from consideration.

Video of today's meeting:

City Commission Meeting from City of Lakeland on Vimeo.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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