Council will interview city manager candidates

Published 6:25 pm Monday, August 27, 2018

Washington’s search for a new city manager enters another phase this week: interviews.

The interviews will be conducted by Mayor Mac Hodges and the City Council, according to Stacey Everett, the city’s human-resources director.

“We are in the process of scheduled interviews. So, they will be interviewing candidates,” Everett said. The five interviews will begin Wednesday.

The City Council convenes at 8 a.m. Wednesday in a special meeting in the Washington-Warren Airport conference room to discuss personnel matters.

Twenty-two people submitted applications/resumes for the position, according to Everett. The new city manager will replace Bobby Roberson, who’s been in that post for about three and a half years, first on an interim basis and then on a full-time basis.

The salary range for the new city manager runs from $98,702 to $148,053. The council prefers an applicant have a master’s degree in public administration with five or more years of municipal government experience. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business or a related field with five or more years of municipal government experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Veteran Councilman Doug Mercer has been a part of several searches for a new city manager over the years. He knows what he’s looking for in a new city manager.

“I’m looking for someone who’s got a vision and is a go-getter,” Mercer said. “Unfortunately, over the years, we’re a town of such a size that we’re going to get an older person who is looking for a spot to retire and make out his last few years, or we’re going to get a up-and-come who’s going to be here three, four or five years, and then he’s going to go some place bigger. I’d like to get an up-and-comer who’s full of vim and vigor and got lots of energy and drive.”

Council member William Pitt wants a city manager that’s young, works with all segments of the community and will implement the council’s vision for the city’s future. “The first thing I’m looking for in a new city manager is youth and vitality. I’m looking for a manager that’s got some young vision … and who is willing to use the resources that I believe are available to this city,” Pitt said. “I’m looking for a manager who is going to be all-citizens friendly, all-citizens inclusive. Millennials are a strong part of the world now. I know that Washington has been purported to be a retirement community, but millennials are the future leaders, and I’m looking that we would involve millennial generation in the general operations of the city.”

Pitt wants the new city manager to stay in Washington for more than just five years. “The town has got to have that leadership beyond the council. The manager is the leadership. When a strategic plan is struck, we need to continue to maintain regardless of whoever is on the council or who is not on the council, a manager who will follow the strategic plan,” Pitt said.

Roland Wyman, the newest council member, said because he’s never been involved with hiring a city manager he plans to keep an open mind. “I’m going to be trying to get a measure of the person, the individual and look for their level of ambition and their willingness to share and implement my vision of where we want to take Washington and the council’s vision of where we want to take Washington,” he said.

Wyman added, “What I would be looking for is the type of person who is curious enough to learn what we want for the city. The manager’s job would be to implement our vision. … That goes beyond background and qualifications. It’s a measure of the individual, the individual’s drive and receptiveness.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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