City Council narrows city manager candidates down to four

Friday, March 11, 2011 | 2:37 p.m. CST; updated 10:03 a.m. CDT, Thursday, March 17, 2011

COLUMBIA — Mayor Bob McDavid is hoping the timeline for picking the next city manager is short.

"I hope we know who we want by next Sunday afternoon," McDavid said.

City manager candidate schedule

Friday, March 18

8 a.m. to noon: Individual candidates meet with city executive staff members in one-hour sessions. 

2 to 4:30 p.m.: Candidates individually tour the community with city staff members.

5 to 6 p.m.: Candidates meet City Council members in a private reception at Columbia City Hall. 

6 to 7:30 p.m.: Candidates are available to meet the public in open session in conference rooms 1A and 1B in City Hall.

Saturday, March 19

8 a.m. - noon: Candidates will interview individually with small groups of council members. Candidates will also be meeting with news media in one-hour increments in the City Council chamber. The meetings will be in this order:

8 to 9 a.m.: Luther

9 to 10 a.m.: Matthes 

10 to 11 a.m.: Vela 

11 a.m. to noon: Myers

Sunday, March 20

8 a.m. to noon: Candidates will interview individually with all members of City Council.

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McDavid held a press conference on Friday morning to discuss what's ahead in the city manager search process. After reviewing 70 applicants from 30 states, the Columbia City Council narrowed it down to four. 

McDavid said the council was looking for four main qualities in candidates: administrative experience, management experience, budget experience and smartness.

Although the four candidates are not from Missouri, McDavid said they understand what to expect as Columbia's next city manager. 

"They know about Missouri, they know about Columbia, and they know about our reputation," McDavid said. 

McDavid said if the council unanimously agrees on a candidate, the announcement won't come for "maybe a week or two" because of negotiations. 

"Obviously, it's our hope on the council that once we make our selection, that the new city manager can get started as soon as possible," McDavid said. "That's in everybody's best interest."

Here is the list of the finalists for the city manager position: 

Lori Curtis Luther serves as the city administrator in Waukesha, Wis., and as a public works supervisory academy instructor for the University of Wisconsin. Luther earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. She also has bachelor's degrees in political science and Spanish from Baker University in Kansas.

Mike Matthes serves as the assistant city manager and chief information officer in Des Moines, Iowa. Matthes earned his master's degree in publicadministration from Iowa State University. He has a bachelor's degree in American history from Graceland College. 

Kent Myers currently serves as the city manager in Port Angeles, Wash. Myers earned his master's degree in public administration from Texas Christian University. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at Arlington. 

David Vela currently serves as an assistant city manager in Abilene, Texas. Vela earned his master's degree in public administration from Texas State University in San Macros. He has a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Missourian reporter Alex Kluesner contributed to this report.

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