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Ashland close to hiring city manager

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

ASHLAND -- Members of the Ashland Board of City Commissioners couldn't reach consensus Thursday on hiring a new city manager but hope an agreement can be reached next week.

After interviewing five city manager candidates last month, the board has met four times without being able to agree on who should replace City Manager Steve Corbitt who announced plans to retire earlier this year. Corbitt has agreed to stay on the job until a new city manager is named.

"We are getting closer," said Mayor Chuck Charles. "We want to make the right decision. We're trying not to rush it."

The board recessed Thursday's meeting until 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Ashland City Building.

Charles said he thought the chances were better than 50/50 that a new city manager would be hired next week.

"My first choice was a dynamic female candidate," said City Commissioner Kevin Gunderson. She wanted a contract outlining the scope of duties and a six-month severance package, but the board couldn't agree on that. "It's the same type of contract 83 percent of cities with city managers have. We'll try again next week."

City Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs was supporting the same female candidate from Georgia as was Gunderson.

"I think we missed a great opportunity with our first offer," Spriggs said. She had no problem with the severance package. "I'm disappointed. Hopefully, we'll come to a consensus in the next 10 days or so."

The names of the five finalists aren't being released. However, several of them are local.

"We're getting close," said City Commissioner Marty Gute. "It's been a grueling process. We have a choice between better and best. I think we'll reach a consensus by Wednesday or Thursday. I hope it's a unanimous decision."

"I think we'll come to a decision next week," said City Commissioner Larry Brown. "This is an important decision."

The board could make a tentative offer next week, Brown said.

Corbitt, 70, has served as Ashland city manager for about seven years.



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