City manager job narrowed to four

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By Mark Scohier

After several months of discussion and the consideration of 42 applicants, The City of Williston is getting closer to hiring a permanent city manager.

City officials unanimously agreed at a workshop Monday to narrow the latest list for consideration, which had been slashed to 11 applicants, down to four. Applicants Danny Lucas and Brooks Stayer made the cut, both having three votes from council members, as well as Scott Lippmann and Oel Wingo, who were both chosen by all six city representatives.Wingo has been serving as interim city manager since late June, when then-City Manager Pat Miller’s contract was terminated after an investigation surrounding allegations of the sexual harassment of two female city employees. While the council agreed on the four applicants, they also agreed that the face-to-face exchange during the interview process may require additional candidates be looked at in the future.“I’m ready to look at more than qualifications. I’m ready to look at a fit. How does the glove fit?” Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat said. “I’m ready to get (to) the interviews.”Council member Cal Byrd agreed, saying qualifications on paper weren’t enough. The council couldn’t be sure until they were able to look applicants “in the whites of their eyes,” he said. The council also agreed that the city would not be picking up the tab for applicants’ travel and lodging expense, and that each applicant would have to undergo a background investigation, which, according to City Clerk Frances Taylor, would cost about $1,000 for all four applicants. “We didn’t do that for the last city manager (Pat Miller) we hired,” said Council President Jason. S. Cason, adding that the background check was an important way for the city to help ensure it was getting a reputable person for the job. The council decided unanimously that the interviews would take place on two days, the first being an interview with only one applicant Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. The second interview, which consists of the remaining three applicants, is scheduled for Nov. 15, also beginning at 6 p.m. Each interview is scheduled for 45 minutes.Cason said he’d like the council, if possible, to make its choice by December.