BRATTLEBORO -- The search for a new town manager is down to two candidates as the Selectboard chairman prepares to negotiate a contract with the top pick.
The Selectboard, and the Town Manager Search Citizen Committee, met Monday to talk about the most recent round of interviews with the town manager candidates.
Selectboard Chairman David Gartenstein on Tuesday declined to give any specifics about the search, but he said following Monday's meetings the search would be heading toward its conclusion.
"The interview process has been completed," Gartenstein said. "After the Selectboard met with the citizen's committee the goal was to hopefully be prepared to authorize the chair to enter into contract negotiations with the candidate."
Former Town Manager Barbara Sondag surprised the Selectboard at its June 18 meeting, announcing that she had accepted a position as the city administrator in Olivette, Mo., and would be leaving at the end of July.
The board worked with Vermont League of Cities and Towns and opened up a national search for a new town manager.
The board initially received 62 applications for the job.
After going through that first round, and vetting the applications, the Selectboard held an initial round of interviews with five candidates.
The board then appointed Rhonda Calhoun, Lisa Lorimer, Jeff Lewis, Spoon Agave and Jerry Goldberg to serve on the Citizen Committee. The committee held its own round of interviews with the candidates.
A committee of town employees also interviewed the top candidates, and interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland gave the candidates a tour of the town.
On Monday the Selectboard and Citizen Committee met to talk about the town manager and to establish protocol for the final stage of the hiring process.
Gartenstein said the Selectboard will continue to discuss the town manager hiring in executive session, though the board does not have another meeting scheduled before the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Gartenstein did say that the board will have to make a decision to offer a contract to the new town manager in open session at a public meeting.
The board is going to begin its work on the 2015 budget before the new town manager is in place, according to Gartenstein, adding that it is going to be a very challenging budget to put together.
Moreland is beginning that work, Gartenstein said, and the new manager will be coming on board with some major decisions to help make about the 2015 spending priorities.
"Patrick has been doing an exemplary job representing the best interests of the town. I expect that the budget process will get under way before we get someone on board," Gartenstein said. "The board is interested in drawing this process to a successful conclusion as soon as possible."
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