Council to interview manager candidates

By Lark Lewis

City Council will evaluate city manager candidates Saturday in a round of interviews.

Saturday the council members will conduct a second cycle of interviews that will whittle down the list of five candidates. The candidates will go through two cycles of interviews, which will consist of one interview with City Council members and an interview with Rey.

Roger W. Fraser, Anne Marie Gaura, Raymond B. Keller, Susan K. McLaughlin and interim city manager Rudy D. Espiritu are all in the running for the position. Once the city manager is chosen, he or she will be appointed at the Nov. 12 City Council meeting.

“They each have their unique strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what is being considered in the current [interview] cycle,” Rey said.

City Council and Rey primarily ask the candidates open-ended questions during interviews; the questions are a compilation of submitted questions from council members and the city’s consulting firm, Rey said.

“Open-ended questions allow the candidate latitude to respond in the manner they wish and allow them to go into as much depth as they might choose,” Rey said. “…So that council and myself get a good indication of the process the individuals take and what the individual brings to the table.”

Initially, there were 49 applications for the city manager position; the pool was reduced to 11 and then five.

All City Council members and Rey will be a part of the upcoming interviews, and they have specific traits they are looking for in a city manager.

“One of the things I’m looking for is that they’re able to work with a very tight budget,” said seventh ward alderman Monica O’Leary.

The city manager is the supervisor of city departments and programs and administrator of City Council’s policies and the annual budget.

“We’re looking for someone to provide leadership to our staff and the city, and carry out the wishes of council,” said second ward alderman Bill Finucane.

Rey said he is looking at how the candidate would work with the council.

“[We’re] seeing each candidate individually and seeing how they would contribute overall to the city government,” Rey said.

Finucane said he is looking for someone who brings something new to the table.

“We’re looking for a fresh set of eyes to take a different look at the way the city is operated up to this point,” Finucane said.

“To perhaps put a different perspective on how things are run in the city.”

The new hire will have some adjustments to make before he or she takes action in the new position.

“There would be contract negotiation cycle to go through and then it would depend on their relationship with their current employment situation,” Rey said. “The timeline would be dictated by the individual candidate we chose.”