Durango city councilors interviewed two semifinalists for the city manager position on Tuesday, but they have not yet named any new finalists for the city’s top job.
It’s been 10 months since the city ended its contract with former Manager Ron LeBlanc. City Council named two out-of-state finalists for the position in July. But a new application from Interim City Manager Amber Blake, announced the same day as the finalists, prompted City Council to take a fresh look at the candidate pool.
One of the city’s two finalists, Kevin Knutson of British Columbia, Canada, accepted a position in Florida, said Mayor Dean Brookie during Tuesday’s council meeting. Council also interviewed two candidates Tuesday for potential spots as finalists.
“We need to have further discussion regarding what we heard today,” Brookie said.
Councilors said they want candidates who can rebuild community trust and who have the expertise to update operational systems such as finances.
Since LeBlanc’s departure in September, councilors have faced an error-ridden budget and the alleged theft by former Finance Director Julie Brown, who faces four felony charges.
Councilors felt confident in their first two finalists, Kevin Knutson, vice president of planning and performance solutions with Envisio Solutions Inc., based in British Columbia, Canada; and Jose Madrigal, the interim solid waste services director in Irving, Texas. Both visited Durango for a week of tours in late July. Madrigal is now the only finalist for the position.
Blake and another city employee have applied for the position. The city has not released the name of the second person for privacy reasons.
After interviewing the two new semifinalists candidates Tuesday, councilors planned to hold an executive session Thursday or Friday to consider adding them as finalists.
If councilors complete a list of finalists this week, finalists would begin a series of virtual interviews with city staff members and the public as soon as Monday.
Finalists will take turns meeting virtually, via video conferencing, with city staff leaders in one series of interviews. In the next interview series, each finalist will meet separately with the general public through video sharing.
“What we’re wrestling with is how to have a series of community meetings in the era of COVID-19,” said David Krings of Slavin Management Consultants. “With the (social distancing) separation, that makes it much more difficult.”
firstname.lastname@example.orgAn earlier version of this story gave an incorrect description about when interim City Manager Amber Blake applied for the job. Also, the story has been updated to reflect one of the two finalists for the city manager job has taken another job and is no longer considered a candidate.