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Council to consider city manager interview dates, format

The Sequim City Council will meet in executive session beginning at noon Sept. 29 to discuss the dates and format for city manager interviews.

Recruitment is going "very well" with 35 applications on file already, all of which have been vetted, recruiter Lee Walton told the council at its Monday night meeting.

Walton is the Bremerton resident and former city manager hired in late July to conduct the city manager search.

Another six applications could arrive by Friday's application deadline, Walton said.

Now there's a possible series of actions for the council, he said.

Walton said he could give the council the 10 or 12 or 15 most qualified candidates, separated into three groups based upon their level of qualifications.

Then the council could narrow that down, changing who was in what group if desired, he said.

Ideally, five or six finalists is great and fewer is better, Walton said.

Walton said he will need time to arrange interviews with the finalists, so perhaps the council could hold a public reception on Friday, Oct. 24, followed by the interviews on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The interviews also could be held somewhere else besides the council chambers at the Sequim Transit Center, he said. The interviews could be public or private or panel interviews, which are kind of complicated, Walton said.

If the council chooses to use interview panels, the panelists should tell the council about the candidates' strengths and weaknesses, not rank them, he said.

The council also might not get its first choice after contract negotiations begin, Walton said.

The candidates' names will remain private until after that Sept. 29 executive session, he said.

Walton said the city has received many good applications but not as many from Washington state as he would like.

The city began advertising for its city manager position early this month.

The city manager position's salary range, as set by council at its Aug. 11 meeting, is $95,000 to $115,000 "plus excellent benefits." Requirements include a bachelor's degree in public administration or a related field with a master's degree desirable.

They also include seven years experience, preferably as a city manager, city administrator, assistant manager or major department head.

The successful candidate will be taking over a city with a $22.5 million budget, including a $8.1 million general fund and 79 employees, although three of those positions are vacant.

According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Sequim's 2008 population was 5,610 as of April 1 which is a 29.4 percent increase from the 2000 population of 4,334.

The city's assessed valuation also has increased by 164 percent during that same period, from $322,322,567 in 2000 (for 2001 taxes) to $851,183,997 in 2007 (for 2008 taxes).

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