The town of Knightdale received more than 60 applications for its vacant town manager position before the first review, which took place Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Human Resources Director Marcey Bell said the search committee, which includes her and council members Dustin Tripp and Randy Young, was able to narrow the pool down to 23, with a goal of getting down to 10. The pool had actually gone up to 71 by that Friday as applications continued to come in.
“We have a good idea of who we want to see in the top 10,” Bell said, “but we are continuing to take applications.”
Bell said education and experience have been the first areas the committee has considered in its effort to narrow the field, with the town preferring a candidate with a master’s degree and experience in a town government close to the size of Knightdale’s. She said there had been response from candidates with previous town manager experience.
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Bell said she didn’t know yet how many candidates the town will contact for its first round of interviews and whether the initial interviews will be remote or in-person. She said applications have come from as far away as the state of Washington.
“From going over the applications, cover letters and resumes,” Tripp said, “it looks like we got a good pool.” Tripp, who has a degree in public administration, said he paid particularly close attention to cover letters in the review process, and how well the candidates expressed connections with the town’s goals, especially teamwork and strategic planning knowledge.
Town leaders have said they will not release the names of candidates before the hire is made, citing the need to attract applications from candidates who may not want their current employers to know they are looking.
The ad for the position does not include a set amount of experience as a town manager, but council members spoke at their summer retreat of wanting to hire someone who has spent five to 10 years in such a position. The council also decided at that two-day retreat in Wilmington to conduct an in-house search rather than bring in a consulting search firm.
The town is looking for someone with “significant broad and diversified managerial experience in the planning and directing of major local public service programs,” the ad states. Graduation from a four-year college with a degree in public administration, business management or a related field is listed as required, with a graduate degree in public administration or a related field preferred.
The anticipated starting salary range is $125,000-$135,000 a year. Former Town Manager Seth Lawless’ salary as of Jan. 1 was $117,293.
Lawless, who resigned suddenly in June, recently took a job as village manager of Islamorada in the Florida Keys, where his starting salary was $145,000. Lawless also received a severance package from Knightdale worth more than $114,000, including nine month’s pay.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826