There are fewer candidates than last time, but the Spokane Valley City Council has plenty to consider in picking a new city manager.
The council met in executive session Tuesday night to consider the attributes of 26 potential new city bosses. And while the closed-door meeting was called to go over the pros and cons of the job-seekers, the council isn’t quite ready to announce who they are quite yet.
“This is to evaluate the candidates we have so far,” Mayor Tom Towey said. “No action will be taken. It may be we have to have future meetings.”
That’s exactly what the council will do, as the executive session broke up before 10 p.m. On Wednesday, city staffers said the council is in the process of scheduling additional meetings.
Any action on choosing finalists for the job will be done in public session, Towey said.
The council also has the option of permanently hiring Mike Jackson, who has been the city’s acting city manager since Jan. 5. That was the date the council asked for – and received – the resignation of then-City Manager David Mercier.
Mercier’s name rose to the top of a list of over 60 applications in April 2003. He had previously worked as the city manager in Battle Ground, a small city in southwest Washington. He was introduced to the public along with four other top contenders at a Saturday afternoon meet-and-greet – where between 80 and 100 local residents showed up – while the council did weekend interviews.
Last time, however, the council employed Prothman and Associates, an interim city management team in Seattle, scoured the nation for prospects and finally landed on 25 to prospects. This time around, the council advertised just in Washington state.
And, too, the finalists will be aware of the fate that befell the previous city manager.
Mercier was asked to leave his job in a “no-fault” separation for the “convenience of the city” in the first meeting of the new council dominated by “Positive Change” candidates who usurped incumbents the previous November.
The move – which was not advertised on the agenda – surprised many and was not delayed a week, as requested by Council Members Bill Gothmann and Rose Dempsey, for public comment.