Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 27, 2013

Officials eye city manager candidates

Carrie Stambaugh
MSU Convergent Media

ASHLAND — Ashland officials will meet behind closed doors Tuesday to review the top city manager candidates and select those to be interviewed.

Ashland City Commissioners will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the city building for the executive session, which will also be attended by at least one representative from the city’s paid consultant Colin Baenziger and Associates.

City Manager Steve Corbitt said commissioners will receive information on the top eight candidates today to review ahead of the meeting. These candidates were selected from the pool of 59 by the consulting firm and have all been partially vetted.

Ashland officials hired Baenziger to conduct the national search for candidates, do a series of background and reference checks and narrow the pool to the top applicants. Elected officials are expected to select three to five candidates to be interviewed.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the consultants are also expected to advise commissioners on some best practices for the interview process, said Corbitt.

Officials are also expected to determine a schedule for those interviews to take place in Ashland over the next several weeks. Corbitt said the entire city commission will be present at those interviews.

“They are all very interested,” said Corbitt. “Commissioner (Kevin) Gunderson says it is the most important decision of this term.”

Corbitt said he was not aware yet who the eight finalists were. At least two of 59 applicants are current city employees and several other individuals had previous ties or are residents to Ashland, according to Corbitt.

City commissioners have said in the past that having a working knowledge of Ashland and an understanding of the local culture was a top priority in choosing a successor.

City officials will also need to sell Ashland to candidates, said Corbitt.

“It’s a two-way street. They are trying to sell themselves to us, but we need to sell ourselves to them,” he said.

 Corbitt said he is optimistic commissioners will have made a choice ahead of November’s first meeting. Corbitt is scheduled to retire Dec. 31.

Ashland officials are also in the midst of a search for a new human resources director following the retirement last month of Deborah Musser.

Corbitt said officials are “working on the applications we have received,” adding, “I hope to have that position filled prior to the city manager.”

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@gmail.com