The search for a new manager for Dukes County hit a roadblock last week.

On Sept. 27, the screening committee appointed to review applications and recommend three finalists to the county commissioners recommended the commissioners re-advertise the position and said it would not continue the screening process with the applications received to date.

The recommendation was made in executive session at the regular meeting of the committee.

“From the candidates in front of us, we could not get a group of three,” the chairman of the screening committee, Greg Coogan, said following the meeting. “In good conscience, we did not feel we could go ahead with these applicants.”

The committee reviewed 12 applications. Identifying information was kept confidential throughout the screening process.

Mr. Coogan said the decision came after the committee decided the applicants did not meet the strict qualifications provided by the commissioners.

“Maybe we were too stringent, but we went with what they gave us,” he said. “It is more important to get the right person than to rush the process.”

County treasurer and acting county manager Noreen Mavro Flanders said this week the guidelines given to the screening committee were the same as those used in previous searches for county manager.

Mr. Coogan said it is now up to the county commissioners to decide how to proceed with the search for the position. He said the screening committee has not scheduled any future meetings.

The commissioners had hoped to have a recommendation of three qualified candidates this month and to have a new county manager in office by January. The position has been vacant since former county manager E. Winn Davis left his position on August 17.

Ms. Mavro Flanders is prepared to sit as acting county manager until the position is filled.

On Sept. 28, commission chairman Paul Strauss said, “I was surprised at the decision and conclusion. I re-read the applications this week and I think there were three or four candidates that are qualified and should be considered.”

Both Mr. Strauss and Ms. Mavro Flanders said the decision will most likely delay the search, but Mr. Strauss remained optimistic that the delay would not be long. “It’s really crucial, time-wise,” Mr. Strauss said.

The commissioners will meet again on Oct. 10 and have invited the screening committee to join them.

“Whatever the outcome, we want to invite them to our meeting, discuss it, make a decision and not delay the process,” Mr. Strauss said. “We would like to find a way to move forward and choose one of the candidates we have.”