After combing through more than 80 applications for the vacant town manager’s job here, a committee of council members and staff have put forward the name of a single finalist for the full council to consider.
Council members could introduce their new hire by the end of the month. Council members met with the unidentified candidate Wednesday in a closed session meeting that lasted just over two hours.
Knightdale has been without a permanent manager since June, when Seth Lawless resigned suddenly less than a month after he returned from a forced medical leave.
The town rehired Hal Mason as its interim manager. Mason had served as the town’s manager during Lawless’ medical leave.
Lawless has since taken a manager’s position with a town in the Florida Keys.
The town’s new manager will oversee a staff of 81 full-time staff and another 75 part-time staffers and a budget of $16.8 million.
Among the challenges a new manager will face is how best to manage the town’s growth. Residential growth has picked up since the end of the recession which began in 2008 and stymied growth throughout the region. The growth brings new demand for services and the town has been focused on a the creation of new recreational opportunities including Knightdale Station Park and expansion of the town’s greenway system.
The committee’s decision to put forward just one name for consideration by the town council is unusual. Typically, a committee will pare the candidate list down to a group of four or five finalists who all come in for face-to-face interviews.
In this case, committee members whittled the list down to a group of finalists and conducted telephone interviews with those candidates before putting forward the name of their top choice.
If council members like the committee’s choice, they could enter into contract negotiations with the candidate. They could also decide to send the matter back to the screening committee to consider other applications or start the search anew.