Details remain murky as city manager search continues

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City officials began interviews Thursday with candidates for Columbia's next city manager. The interviews, which were scheduled to be held throughout the day in the Howard Municipal Building near city hall, were closed to the public.

Mayor Brian Treece said the number of remaining candidates, as well as any other details about them, remains confidential. In early May, City Council members met with CPS HR Consulting, the firm hired to conduct the search, to narrow down their list to five to eight candidates.

Finalist interviews are scheduled for June 20-21. Before Thursdayís meeting, Treece said there wasnít a projected timeline for the position to be filled.

The mayor said the city might hold an event that allows citizens to interact with the candidates.

"I think thatís something the council wants to do to debut any finalists," Treece said.

When Mike Matthes was chosen to succeed Bill Watkins as city manager in 2011, he was among a field of four finalists the public was invited to meet during a reception at city hall. Treece said that allowed for direct interaction between candidates and the community.

"We havenít discussed what format that could take if we do it," he then said.

The city manager position has been unfilled since November when Matthes resigned amid conflicts over community policing and stagnant wages for city employees.

John Glascock, who gave the State of the City address last week, has served as interim city manager.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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