Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh council interviews 4 finalists for city manager job

Four finalists for the Raleigh city manager job were in town for interviews Wednesday and Thursday after the City Council narrowed a field of more than 80 applicants.

The interviews took place behind closed doors at the Raleigh Convention Center, starting at 9 a.m. both days.

A majority of council members agreed to keep the finalists’ names secret, despite opposition from two members who wanted a transparent search. In recent searches for Raleigh police chief and Wake County schools superintendent, finalists met with residents in public forums before the final hire was announced.

The council spent several hours with each finalist. In addition to answering questions, the candidates ran through a disaster response simulation to show how they would handle a news conference and other scenarios.

The Raleigh City Clerk’s office did not send out written notifications about the special council meetings. Instead, Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced the dates, times and locations at the end of a closed session at Tuesday’s council meeting. State meetings law requires “written notice of the meeting stating its purpose ... to be mailed, emailed or delivered to each newspaper, wire service, radio station, and television station.”

Details about the number of finalists and interview plans appeared in a memo sent to the council Sept. 14 by Stephen Jones, the city’s human resources director. The memo was obtained through a public records request.

The council could choose the city’s next manager during a follow-up meeting that was held at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Chancellor Room of the Marriott hotel on Fayetteville Street, according to Jones’ memo.

“I’d like to recommend that we use Friday morning to discuss the interviews/candidates with an objective of reaching a consensus on the next step, whether it’s a decision on a single candidate or it’s a decision to gather additional information to help make a final decision,” he wrote.