Hunt for Colusa city exec moves ahead
The ad-hoc committee guiding the search for a new Colusa city manager is scheduled to meet Tuesday for the first formal review of applicants.
Councilman Tom Reische, a member of that committee, said there were about 20 applications, and felt the city was heading in the right direction and on the same timeline as set earlier.
That timeline calls for formal interviews in January and hiring a new city manager in February.
But Reische and Councilwoman Donna Critchfield, the other member of that committee, understand that incoming members to the council have differing viewpoints on the city manager position.
Critchfield maintains her position that the city needs a strong city manager.
"I think we need someone who is accountable and in charge. I just don't see how the city can run without a strong city manager," Critchfield said.
Newcomer Greg Ponciano, for example, does not think that is necessary.
He has advocated a more active role by the council members, though that too is in conflict with some of his colleagues' philosophy.
The new council members will be sworn in on Tuesday.
Reische, the senior member of the council, is admittedly more flexible on the topic and does not think that the differences of opinion are a problem whatsoever, and may in fact be good for the city.
He likes the makeup of the new council, expects each member to offer a strong opinion, and the council will build a consensus from there, and the decision process will continue as set.
Reische said the whole council will be updated on the ad hoc committee's progress at the Dec. 18 meeting, but believes the matter will be in closed session.
It is left to be determined, however, that if the council discussion is about the kind of city manager role is desired, or similar policy issues related to the topic, if it can be held behind closed doors.
Still out there as a possibility is that acting City Manager Randy Dunn will stay on in the post.
Dunn said he would be willing to consider the possibility if approached.
"If I could make a positive difference, that would be important to me," Dunn said. "I have thought about it and have been asked by some people (in the community)."
Dunn did not submit a formal application.
"That would only depend on what the applications would be like," Reische said of keeping Dunn on board.
He thinks the city can afford to be patient to make sure it hires the right person.
Reische added, however, he is no longer convinced the position requires the kind of time commitment as he believed before the process began, in large part because of how Dunn has handled the job.
He concedes that a new hire would not have the built-in institutional or community knowledge and experience Dunn has after 34 years with the city, and would have to dedicate the energy and time to build those relationships.
In addition to Reische, Critchfield and Dunn, the city's human resource consultant, Patrick Clark, and City Attorney Krysten Hicks are expected to attend Tuesday's initial application review.
No one was willing to say if there were any locals in the group, but at least one candidate was familiar to Dunn.