Judging the city’s needs

Watertown City Hall. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Eight candidates will be interviewed for the city manager’s job.

After meeting in executive session Monday night, the City Council whittled down the number of applicants from 29 to eight.

The eight remaining candidates will be interviewed — in person or by phone — on the weekend of Sept. 26 and 27, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said.

The mayor said he was happy with the candidates.

“They look good on paper,” he said.

The mayor would not say whether City Manager Kenneth A. Mix was the among the eight who’ll be interviewed. Mr. Mix was appointed to the position last January on an interim basis, but is now interested in the position permanently.

Mayor Smith would not identify any of the eight, not even saying whether any of them are local.

The mayor hopes to have someone appointed to the position by the first of the year.

He and the council members met Monday night with former Ogdensburg City Manager John C. Krol, who’s conducting the search for the city.

Mr. Krol did the same work two years ago when former City Manager Rick Finn was appointed and also served as city manager on an interim basis four years ago during a previous search.

Mr. Mix has been in the position on an interim basis since Mr. Finn abruptly resigned Jan. 24.

The successful candidate will be paid an initial annual salary in the range of $110,000 to $130,000.

The search process was delayed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In November, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner filed a complaint against Mr. Finn with the city, and subsequently with the state Division of Human Rights, claiming Mr. Finn caused a hostile work environment.

While Mr. Finn resigned, City Council determined that he did not cause a hostile work environment, but found other issues that did not rise to the level of a hostile work environment. He and council members agreed he would resign.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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