One interview remains before the Steamboat Springs City Council settles on a list of finalists for the position of city manager. City officials expect the finalists to be announced by the end of the week.
Last week, City Council and a group of residents serving on a City Manager Search Committee separately interviewed five of six semifinalists for the position. Scheduling conflicts postponed the sixth candidate's interview to this week. That person was interviewed by the Steamboat Springs City Council on Monday and will be interviewed by the search committee today.
Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said interviews with both bodies averaged about two to three hours for each semifinalist. Council and search committee members scored applicants' responses to a set of pre-selected questions. Although decisions regarding the search ultimately lie with the City Council, Hermacinski said council members were encouraged when the search committee, which had a different set of questions, ended up ranking the semifinalists similarly.
"That gives us a high degree of confidence that we selected good finalists," Hermacinski said.
Out of the first five semifinalists interviewed, Hermacinski said two have been selected as finalists. Whether the sixth semifinalist will join them is a decision City Council President Loui Antonucci expects to be made Wednesday. The finalists' identities then will become public. Finalist interviews, which will be conducted in public, are scheduled for Jan. 6 and 7.
The semifinalist interviews followed initial interviews and screening by Phil McKenney of executive search firm Peckham & McKenney, who recommended 10 to 12 applicants that City Council and the City Manager Search Committee whittled down to the six semifinalists brought to Steamboat for interviews.
Last month, McKenney said a total of 118 applicants came from the public and private sectors from across the U.S. and even London.
Last month, Antonucci and Hermacinski said they wouldn't want to hire a city manager unless they got a great candidate.
"I really think that if we don't find a candidate we really want, we would ask (interim City Manager) Wendy (DuBord) to stick around," Hermacinski said at the time. "If we don't find exactly what we're looking for, there's a chance we wouldn't go through with this hire."
But Monday, Hermacinski said she is confident Steamboat's next city manager exists in the pool of remaining applicants.
"My perspective is we're going to have some really good choices," she said.
The city is offering an annual salary of $140,000 to $180,000 - plus benefits that could include housing assistance, a performance bonus or both - for the position of city manager. The city has identified the following attributes desirable in its next city manager:
- Management and supervision of staff and their assigned duties
- Diplomacy and discretion
- Mediates disputes and gains consensus
- Providing professional advice, including alternative views/direction with the ability to be flexible
- Leadership skills will include being accessible, being proactive, having the ability to unify diverse groups and being willing to seek input from the community
- Fiscal management and oversight
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