Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on Monday, during a closed-door session, decided which city manager candidates they want to interview in person, an important step as that keeps the elected officials on a schedule that envisions someone starting in the position in mid-January.
Officials have not released information about the 90 people who applied for the position. There was little made public about the Monday meeting. City Councilor Liza Simpson said the meeting lasted two hours.
Simpson said the candidates make up a "very good applicant pool."
"I think everybody we talked about, certainly on paper, is qualified to do the job," Simpson said.
She declined to say whether any of the people who applied are internal candidates. No City Hall staffers publicly declared their intention to submit an application. Diane Foster, the interim city manager, did not apply.
Simpson said the people who applied seemed to understand the City Hall culture. She did not provide details but said the candidates appear aware of the role of the city manager in Park City's hierarchy.
"It was clear that they got us," Simpson said.
The elected officials next week are scheduled to hold 17 hours of closed-door personnel meetings starting at 8 a.m. on Monday and extending into Tuesday. It is almost certain that the meetings will center on the city manager position, and it seems likely that the finalists could be in Park City for interviews. Foster on Tuesday declined to provide details about the Monday and Tuesday sessions, citing laws that allow a government body to conduct its business in closed-door meetings for personnel reasons.
Meanwhile, the City Council is preparing to convene a community interview panel that will be seated to assist in the process. Foster said invitations are being given to the selected panelists. She said the panel will consist of a "broad representation of the community," but she was not sure how many people would be named to the group.
Foster said the panel will interview a short list of finalists and provide input to the elected officials. The panel will conduct its work in closed-door sessions, she said. The names of the members will likely be released, she said.
The elected officials are preparing to name a successor to Tom Bakaly, the city manager who departed in August after nine-plus years as the top staffer at City Hall. Bakaly was hired as the city manager in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
The group of 90 people who applied was significantly smaller than the field they yielded Bakaly in 2002. The recruiter who conducted both of the searches has said fewer people are applying for municipal positions like city managers nowadays amid the economic uncertainty and a drop in people pursuing careers in public administration.
Still, Park City leaders anticipated a strong field of applicants attracted by the prospects of serving in a top post in a well-known resort community.