Pell City officials not rushing search for manager
by David Atchison
Jan 13, 2012 | 871 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY — City officials say it could take more time to find the right manager for the city.

“The person you’re putting in this job — it’s probably the most important thing we’ve done,” Councilman James McGowan said. “The process could take several months.”

Through teleconferences, the mayor and council interviewed three possible city manager candidates Thursday. City officials interviewed two possible candidates Wednesday.

“I’m going to reserve comment,” Mayor Bill Hereford said after completing the first five interviews.

Council members say this is just a screening process so they could decide who to invite for face-to-face interviews. All candidates interviewed Wednesday and Thursday live outside the state.

Councilman Greg Gossett said he would rather interview all candidates face-to-face, but it was not economically feasible, “especially when there were no guarantees” for the candidates or the city.

He said city officials will review more applications and possibly set up additional interviews.

“We could go through 25 applicants and still not be able to decide on someone,” Gossett said.

He said he wants a city manager with good financial skills, someone who is good with handling personnel, and a person who can effectively handle complaints from citizens.

“I don’t want things put on the shelf and forgotten about,” he said.

Gossett said he also wants the new city manager to follow the letter of the law.

“There could be someone out there with a manager’s job who wants to look at this one,” he said.

Most of the candidates interviewed Wednesday and Thursday are not currently working as city managers, but some have worked as city managers in the past.

“I’m not saying one of these guys wouldn’t get the job,” Hereford said. “But we’re going to continue to look.”

He said the council had a good start at finding a new city manager, but there is no rush.

“We aren’t hiring someone just to be hiring someone,” Hereford said.

He said he recently received three more calls from people interested in the position.

He said the city has not closed the application process for the newly established city manager’s position and the city will accept new applications.

“We had some applicants who were clearly not qualified,” Hereford said.

The council established the city manager position in October.

The city manager will run the day-to-day operations of the city.

The council budgeted $100,000 for the position in the 2012 fiscal year budget and established a salary range from $52,395-$103,406.

Officials say the city initially received 16 applications for the position but will continue to accept applications.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

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