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Ogdensburg council selects preferred city manager candidate, doesn’t release name

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An additional name was placed atop the list of city manager candidates interviewed this weekend, but council members aren’t saying who.

Going into Friday, the council planned to meet four preferred candidates on a list given to them by the Bonadio Group of Syracuse, the recruiting firm contracted to lead the city manager search.

“We had five candidates that we interviewed,” said Mayor William D. Nelson. “A number of the candidates got called back for second interviews.”

An additional local candidate was added at council members’ request.

“It was a qualified, local candidate,” said Councilman Wayne L. Ashley. “I’d like to tell you the whole thing, but we agreed not to because we’re still in negotiations over it.”

Council members did not reveal the identities of the candidates.

“We shouldn’t be mentioning names. We might put these people’s jobs in jeopardy,” said Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley.

Councilman Daniel E. Skamperle said the council was close to making a decision.

“It will be a nice hire. I think people will be happy,” he said. “I’ll tell you right now, personally, I’ve got it down to two choices.”

Council members said all potential hires were interviewed Saturday, and three finalists were called back Sunday.

The search for Ogdensburg’s next city manager now enters a new phase, said Mr. Nelson, as the city clerk researches the qualifications of the candidates.

“Kathy Bouchard will be the one to review their qualification,” he said. “We’ll do our due diligence on the finalists.”

Mr. Nelson said Mrs. Bouchard normally checks applicants to make sure they meet the stipulations of Ogdensburg’s charter.

The charter requires city manager candidates have at least one year of training in public administration and finance and three years of experience in an executive position in government, or “any equivalent training or combination of experience and training sufficient to indicate capacity for effective governmental administration.”

Council members said the local candidate was selected by a four to three vote, with Mr. Nelson leading the minority.

“There’s no disagreement among councilors,” said Mr. Nelson. “We’re going to do our due diligence and then we’ll select the candidate that we wish to hire.”

Depending on how strictly Ms. Bouchard chooses to interpret the charter, the selected candidate might not be deemed qualified.

“I don’t know how quickly the qualification process will go down,” said Mr. Skamperle.

Mr. Nelson said the council could vote on a hire within a few weeks.

“I would say probably in a couple of weeks. I’m just looking at the process we have to go through,” he said. “We had a great slate of candidates.”

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