LEMOORE — As Lemoore’s city manager prepares to retire, the City Council will soon begin interviewing candidates to fill the position in the short term.
The council discussed the recruitment of an interim city manager during a special meeting on Friday. City Manager Jeff Laws announced earlier this month that he will retire on March 6. The council had previously directed staff at its Jan. 20 meeting to make contact with retired city managers who might be interested in filling the role until the position can be permanently filled.
Mayor Lois Wynne said Monday the council will interview several potential candidates in closed session on Feb. 3.
“We’re hoping to have someone one or two weeks before Jeff is gone,” Wynne said.
Laws said city staff made use of a so-called “range rider” program that keeps track of retired public employees. The program helped to identify a pool of retired city managers in the area capable of doing the job if they were interested and willing to work for just a few months until a permanent manager can be hired.
“We had to go through quite a few to get three that were interested in working for that short a time,” Laws said.
Laws declined to disclose the names of the candidates. He said that all three have previous experience as city managers.
One interested party from the Bay Area, who Laws also did not name, went so far as to submit his résumé. Laws said that individual is not being considered for the interim job but may still apply for the permanent position if interested. The council had specifically requested candidates who live within driving distance of Lemoore.
“I don’t know how this person found out about it,” Laws said. “They didn’t submit [their résumé] to me. They submitted it to a council member.”
Wynne said the council will also hold a discussion on Feb. 3 to review recruitment materials from the previous city manager search in 2013. The council will discuss characteristics they would like to see in an ideal city manager and make any necessary changes to the recruitment materials before formally advertising the position.
If the council approves the recruitment materials on Feb. 3, Laws said, the search for a permanent replacement could begin as early as next week.
Following the forced resignation of former City Manager Jeff Briltz in March 2013 the council appointed Laws, then chief of the Lemoore Police Department, to fill the office temporarily. After advertising the position for about two months, the city received 16 applications for the job. The council interviewed the top four applicants before putting the search on hold in October 2013.
The following month, the council offered the job to Laws, who had not applied for the position.