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Tue, Oct. 22

Screening underway on 58 applications for Prescott City Manager position

PRESCOTT – Nearly 60 applicants responded to the advertisement the City of Prescott posted earlier this month for a new city manager.

Prescott Human Resources Director Mary Jacobsen reported Tuesday, June 28, that the city received a total of 58 city manager applications by the deadline at 5 p.m. Monday, June 27.

An initial review on Tuesday indicated that 27 of the applicants met the city’s minimum qualifications, Jacobsen said. Four of those are from Arizona, she added, while the remaining applicants are from elsewhere in the U.S.

Among the qualifications were: A bachelor’s degree, preferably a master’s degree, in public or business administration or a related field; and 10 years of experience in progressively responsible management in local municipal government, with five of the years as city manager or assistant city manager.

The job opening, which was listed as paying an annual salary of up to $150,000 plus benefits, sought a manager “with a unique combination of leadership skill and ability, along with a progressive management style to help shape the future of this historically rich community.”

Jacobsen said the next step in the process would be up to the mayor and City Council.

Mayor Harry Oberg said Tuesday that he plans to appoint a panel to help with the screening and interviewing process.

He foresees the panel being made up of several City Council members, as well as several members of the community – at least one of whom likely would be a former city manager from another community.

Oberg says the panel would screen the applications and narrow the field of 27 down to about 10. From there, he expects the panel to recommend a number of semi-finalists, who would participate in Skype interviews.

Ultimately, Oberg says the panel would help to narrow the field to about three finalists, who would be asked to travel to Prescott for in-person interviews.

He was uncertain this week what that process might consist of, and whether it would include public interviews with the full council.

“The big thing right now is trying to narrow it down (for the Skype interviews),” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lamerson anticipates the process being similar to the one used recently in the choice of a new police chief.

In that scenario, Lamerson said, a committee helped to interview the top applicants, and each of the seven council members had a chance to “interface” with the finalists.

A new city manager is being sought to replace current Manager Craig McConnell, who resigned May 13 from the job he has held for the past five years. McConnell’s resignation becomes effective July 12, and the council recently agreed that he should stay on after that date to help with the transition to a new manager.

McConnell was hired after an in-house search by the council in 2011. He previously worked for years as the city’s public works director and regional programs director. While no public interviewing process occurred during that hiring, the council did conduct public interviews prior to choosing previous City Manager Steve Norwood in 2003.

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