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Council says little about city manager search after meeting again behind closed doors

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Watertown City Council members would not say Monday night whether they have whittled down the pool of candidates to a single finalist for city manager.

Council members interviewed four unidentified finalists over the weekend and hoped to find “a preferred candidate,” Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said Monday morning.

But Mr. Graham and the other four council members would not say whether they got that far after meeting in executive session for about 50 minutes Monday night. The mayor said he might comment further today.

“Obviously, we have to have some more discussions. I have to make some phone calls, and that’s all I can say,” he said.

Contacted at home after the meeting Monday, Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith also declined to comment, emphasizing that council members adjourned the meeting until May 31.

“We’ve had phenomenal candidates,” he said. “We’ve got good candidates to pick from.”

After the council agrees on a preferred candidate, Interim City Manager John C. Krol will conduct a more in-depth background check on the finalist and then start negotiations with that person, Mr. Graham said.

Council members have met about eight times in executive session to discuss finding a replacement for former City Manager Mary M. Corriveau. Mrs. Corriveau left in April after about nine years in the position and nearly 27 years of service with the city.

Council members received 38 resumes from candidates interested in the position and considered 37 of them; the last one came after the April 21 deadline, the mayor said.

In other business Monday, the council:

n Ignored City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk’s recommendation to hold off on replacing the 106-year-old fountains in front of Flower Memorial Library.

Mr. Hauk had urged the council to delay the fountain work until next year because it could interfere with scheduled HVAC and roof projects that will be completed this construction season. He contended that having two contractors in the same small area in front of the library could cause logistical problems.

But Mr. Graham, Mr. Smith and Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns said they want the fountains replaced this season, as had been planned.

Mr. Hauk had suggested scheduling the $68,000 fountain project to coincide with $200,000 in facade improvements scheduled for the library next year.

n Heard that firefighters union president Timothy P. “Tucker” Wiley wants council members to get involved in a dispute involving whether firefighters can be involved in conducting code inspections.

In a show of support, about 35 members of the firefighters union attended Monday’s meeting, wearing red fire department golf shirts.

“We want Council to ask questions and right a wrong,” he said.

The issue came up after Mr. Wiley, president of Watertown Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 191, blasted city officials for no longer allowing firefighters to conduct building inspections, saying he will blame them if any of his members are injured in a fire where an inspection was not done.

For the past seven years, firefighters still did building code inspections after a law had been changed no longer permitting them to be involved in the inspections. Under city and state law, they are to be conducted by the city’s code enforcement office.

The firefighters want the law changed back.

On Monday night, Mr. Wiley blamed a feud between City Fire Chief Dale C. Herman and Code Enforcement Supervisor Shawn R. McWayne for creating the problem.

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