ISLAMORADA -- A committee appointed by the Village Council will conduct interviews this week with the nine applicants who are still in the running to be the first in-house village attorney.
Twenty-five people applied for the post before the committee narrowed down the list at a meeting two weeks ago. The eventual hire will replace the Coral Gables-based Weiss Serota law firm, which has run the village's legal department since incorporation in 1998.
In winnowing the field, the committee went largely with candidates who have significant municipal law experience in Florida. Scheduled for an interview Wednesday, Sept. 4, are:
• Gaby Radcliffe, assistant Port St. Lucie city attorney from 2006 to 2012.
• Ralf Brooks, a private practitioner who did work for the Monroe County Attorney's Office in the 1990s and now does contracted municipal work for tiny Yankeetown, west of Gainesville.
• David Migut, senior assistant attorney for St. John's County in northeast Florida since 2011 and a former assistant attorney for Fort Myers.
• Ray Irizarri, city attorney for Sweetwater in Miami-Dade County from 1998 to 2009.
• Roland Blossom, city attorney between 2002 and 2008 for Deltona, north of Orlando.
On Friday, the committee will interview:
• Henry Hunnefeld, assistant city attorney in Miami from 1999 through 2008. Hunnefeld is currently supervisor of the litigation division for the Miami City Attorney's Office.
• Roget Bryan, a private practitioner who has done contract work for the city of Lauderhill since 2011.
• Robert Dunckel, associate city attorney for Fort Lauderdale since 1988.
• Rodney Wade, deputy Manatee County attorney since 2002.
The committee is comprised of former Village Councilman Don Achenberg, businessman David Gross, local attorneys Jim Lupino and Scott Black and Weiss Serota partner Nina Boniske, who heads the firm's Islamorada team.
Once the interviews are complete, they'll submit impressions, but no rankings, to the Village Council for discussion.
The village had hoped to fill the attorney position before the Oct. 1 start of the next fiscal year. However, it is not clear if that timeline will be met. The council is not expected to review the committee's suggestions at its Sept. 12 meeting, Village Clerk Ariana Lawson said.
The following regularly scheduled council meeting is Sept. 26.
The village attorney position is tentatively budgeted for $140,000, but the actual salary will be determined by negotiation.