Cape's city manager search narrows to five candidates Monday

Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Cape Girardeau City Council plans to choose five finalists for city manager as early as Monday night with a goal of having a new administrator hired by Sept. 15.

The city has received 61 applications for the job including one from interim city manager Doug Leslie.

"They are all extremely qualified," Mayor Jay Knudtson said Friday.

Most are currently employed as city managers or city planners, Knudtson said. The applicants are from across the country, and some of the candidates have ties to this area.

Knudtson has asked each of his fellow council members to provide him with a list of five candidates. He said the council will discuss those names behind closed doors at city hall on Monday.

The mayor said it's undecided whether the council will make the names of the five finalists public. In the last city manager search in 1995, finalists' names were publicized.

"The only hesitancy to make them public is that these people are all in current occupations," Knudtson said. "In some cases, it would be extremely damaging for them to become public."

Knudtson said the council probably won't disclose the names of any candidates who don't want publicity.

Eric Cunningham, city attorney, said Missouri's open meetings law allows city councils to keep the names of city manager finalists a secret.

A bill in the Missouri Legislature this year would have required public disclosure of finalists for city manager. The legislation didn't pass, Cunningham said.

Knudtson said the city will resume searching for a new fire chief once a city manager has been hired. The mayor said it will be the duty of the new city manager to hire a new fire chief.

The search for a new city manager has been under way since the council fired former manager Michael Miller on May 30. The council cited differences between Miller and the city council in management style and the desire to hire someone who will take a more visible leadership role.

Since then, Leslie, Cape Girardeau's public works director, has served as interim city manager. Leslie, who has worked for the city for the past 13 years, served as interim city manager for three months before Miller took the position in October 1995.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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