City leaders will interview six candidates seeking to become Ashland’s next city manager.
Interviews will be scheduled the week of Oct. 21 and will be conducted by the entire Ashland Board of City Commissioners, said City Manager Steve Corbitt. Commissioners will individually interview each of the candidates before each one is interviewed by the group.
The commission met Wednesday in a recessed session to discuss the applicants. The session was attended by consultant Sean Baenziger of Colin Baenziger and Associates. Baenziger is the vice president of the firm, which the city hired in June for $19,000 to assist it in the search.
Baenziger said the firm had initially whittled the pool of 59 applicants down to eight finalists, but one withdrew from consideration and a second failed the background check.
“We originally went in with the idea of picking three, but there are just a lot of good candidates,” he said. “They are all qualified, there wasn’t any one we are bringing in that couldn’t do the job.”
Baenziger provided city officials with 100-page informational packets on each of the candidates, which was based on resume, background checks and telephone interviews. “That was very helpful in comparing them and looking at the caliber of these people,” said Corbitt, “I think we’re going to get a good person.”
“We just want to make sure we do it right this time,” said Mayor Chuck Charles. “They (Baenziger) has done all the preliminary work for us, and now we need to see how well they fit and if the city fits for them,” he said.
“We have some excellent candidates. I’m really excited about sitting down and talking to them, to see if they live up to my expectations,” he said.
Charles said he is hopeful one candidate will emerge as the “obvious” choice and commissioners will be unanimous in their decision to select that person. “I want everybody, all of our team, to be on the same page,” said Charles, “That way you have synergy right from the beginning.”
Corbitt said nearly all the candidates are either working as a city manager or an assistant city manager. The candidates have a confidentiality agreement with city officials to protect their current employment, said Corbitt.
The commission will announce its selection, he said, after the candidate has been offered and accepted the position. Corbitt said he anticipates the commission will make a decision by early November. The city advertised a salary range for the job of between $110,000 and $130,000, with city insurance and retirement benefits.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.