OTTUMWA — The schedule for vetting the city administrator candidates and access for the public looks much the same now as it was when a tentative schedule was laid out by City Attorney Joni Keith several weeks ago.
Mayor Tom Lazio, who has served as acting city administrator since the resignation of Andy Morris in August, said the plan is for the candidates to arrive in Ottumwa Jan. 24 and tour the city. Open proceedings begin the next day.
“We’ll have three candidates who we are going to be presenting to the council,” he said.
Interviews will take place the morning of Saturday, Jan. 25. It is possible part of that process will take place at Bridge View Center, though that has not been settled.
The council’s interviews of the candidates will be open to the public. That follows precedent for the city, which has held public sessions to allow people to watch how the council interacts with candidates for the city’s top professional staff position for the past several searches.
After a break for lunch, the plan calls for the city council to formally convene in closed session to discuss whether to offer one of the candidates the position.
“That’s the tentative plan at this point. … I think we’re all set, we’re ready to go,” Lazio said.
When Morris resigned, city officials said the process of finding a new administrator would likely take close to six months, though they did not rule out a shorter window. The city hired Moulder & Associates to conduct the search. Use of professional search firms for such positions is common in Iowa, though not universal.
Council members adjourned Tuesday’s meeting to begin discussion of candidates in closed session. That has also been a repeated element in the city’s recent searches, as council members conduct an initial vetting before announcing a slate of finalists.
If a candidate is offered the position on Jan. 25, and if that candidate accepts, it is likely the city would have that person in place at the beginning of March.
In other business, council members approved amendments to the city’s agreement with the Ottumwa Economic Development Corp., one of the entities involved in the Greater Ottumwa Partners In Progress merger approved last month.
The merger, which was formally submitted to the state last week, brings together the chamber of commerce and OEDC under the umbrella of Partners In Progress. The city’s move was a formality needed to adjust to the changes.