Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 25, 2013

Decision reached on new city manager

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — City leaders have reached a decision on who Ashland’s next city manager will be.

But, it will be at least several days before the public knows who it is.

At Thursday’s Ashland Board of City Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Kevin Gunderson said he, his fellow board members and Mayor Chuck Charles had “reached consensus” on a replacement for the retiring Steve Corbitt.

Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs said announcement of who that person is was pending notification of the individual’s current employer, which would seem to indicate the commission reached outside of Ashland to fill the position.

“We think we made a great choice,” Spriggs said.

Thursday’s meeting was recessed until 2 p.m. Monday. Asked if the announcement of the new city manager could come at that time, Charles said it was a possibility.

Commissioners last week interviewed six candidates for the position. The initial pool of 59 applicants was whittled down to eight finalists, but one withdrew from consideration and a second failed a background check, according to Sean Baenziger of Colin Baenziger and Associates, a firm paid $19,000 by the city to assist in the search.

Corbitt said earlier that nearly all the candidates were currently working as either a city manager or an assistant city manager. The candidates have a confidentiality agreement with city officials to protect their current employment, he said.

Several members of the initial pool of applicants were said to be current city employees, or residents of Ashland.

The city advertised a salary range for the job of between $110,000 and $130,000, with city insurance and retirement benefits.

Corbitt has filed retirement papers to be effective Dec. 31, but said earlier that officials will work out the transition if a new city manager arrives before then.

The new city manager will be Ashland’s third since William H. Fisher Jr. retired in 2006. His replacement, retired U.S. Army Maj. Randy Robertson, lasted less than eight months. He resigned after losing the support of elected officials.

Corbitt, a former public services director who served as acting city manager immediately before Robertson was hired and then again following his departure, was eventually tapped to fill the post full time.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.