Less than a month after losing out on an opportunity to take over as Savannah’s new city manager, Hilton Head Island town manager Steve Riley now is out of the running for a similar job in Davenport, Iowa.
“I’m not going to Davenport,” Riley said Thursday.
Riley said he has other irons in the fire but declined to say where those job prospects might be or how far along in the interview process his is.
“Those other communities haven’t made anything public, so I’m not going to be the one to do that,” he said.
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Riley commented Thursday on the unique nature of a job search that has received media attention both in the Lowcountry and in the cities where he has interviewed.
“This is a strange business where looking around (for a new job) becomes an event,” he said.
Davenport’s communication office announced in a statement earlier this week that the current interim city manager Corri Spiegel will take over the position on a permanent basis.
Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said the search was a “very competitive process,” according to a city news release.
Riley, who has been the island’s top unelected official for 25 years, was one of three finalists for the Davenport job and one of 12 finalists for the position in Savannah.
He was also a candidate for the city manager job in Forney, Texas, but pulled himself out of the running for that job late last month.
Forney is smaller than some of Riley’s other former job prospects with an estimated population of nearly 15,000 residents. More than 102,000 people live in Davenport, Iowa, and nearly 143,000 in Savannah. Hilton Head Island’s full-time resident population is estimated at about 39,000, with more than 2.5 million tourists visiting the island annually.
Riley has been actively looking for a new job for several months, citing professional tension with Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett; better opportunities for his wife, Mary Jo Riley, to further her architecture career; and the ability to be closer to family in the Midwest as reasons for his search.
“(We) may not mesh as well as I have with other past mayors,” he said of Bennett last month. “But not everybody gets along. It’s not a big deal.”
Both Riley and Bennett have since declined to comment on their relationship. Bennett could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Despite the continuing search, Riley said he is committed to his job on the island.
“I’m just going to keep on showing up everyday and doing my best, just like always,” he said. “It’s business as usual.”