Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh could name new city manager on Friday

City Council members have agreed on their top choice for Raleigh’s next city manager, and an announcement could come during a special meeting Friday morning.

The council met privately Tuesday to discuss a possible replacement for fired City Manager Russell Allen. When it emerged after an hour, Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced that contract negotiations have begun with the favored candidate.

McFarlane then announced a 10 a.m. meeting Friday in the lobby of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts – a venue used more for big announcements than government meetings.

Tuesday was the council’s self-imposed deadline for agreeing on a candidate. Members wanted to make the decision ahead of next week’s municipal elections, which could see some council seats change hands.

Last month, the council agreed on four finalists – from a field of 80 applicants – and brought them to the Raleigh Convention Center for private interviews. Council members said the secrecy was necessary to attract top recruits who might not want their current employers to know they’re looking to leave.

Some challengers in the election raised concerns about the secrecy, noting that searches for Wake schools superintendent and Raleigh police chief included a public forum to introduce the finalists.

But the council said some applicants would have stayed away to avoid the publicity. “We were told by three out of the four candidates that had this been an open process, they wouldn’t have come,” Councilman Randy Stagner said recently.

The city’s consultant is working with the top candidate to hash out a contract. The council set a salary range of $190,000 to $240,000, plus additional “deferred compensation” equal to 10 percent of total pay and an annual car allowance of $6,600. The city could also chip in for the new manager’s moving expenses.

The final contract details will require a vote from the full council before the hire becomes official.