Elizabeth City officials will begin reviewing nearly 30 applications for the city’s vacant city manager’s job starting Monday.
The city began advertising the position on Sept. 16 and the job posting on the city’s website states the process of reviewing applications will begin on Monday.
Interim Human Resources Director Monica Cole said in an email Thursday morning that the city had received 26 applications for the city manager’s job.
City Council Human Resources Committee Chairwoman Katherine Felton said the city’s first step in hiring a new manager will be Cole’s review of the applications.
“(Cole) will then forward all applications to the mayor and City Council on Oct. 4,” Felton said in an email. “The mayor and council will review applications and select the choice of candidates to remain in the process.”
The city is searching for a permanent city manager after the previous City Council fired former manager Montre Freeman on Sept. 30, 2021. Freeman held the position for just nine months and came to Elizabeth City after being the town manager of Enfield for 2½ years.
After Freeman’s firing, City Council named then Public Safety Director Eddie Buffaloe interim manager. He was succeeded by Ralph Clark, a former city manager for Elizabeth City, and then Richard Hicks. After Hicks’ resignation in July, council named Human Resource Director Human Resources Director Montique McClary interim city manager.
The job posting states the city is looking for an experienced manager that has between five and seven years of experience in municipal government management at the level of “assistant city manager or city manager in a comparable sized local government organization.”
The posting states the city is also seeking a manager that at a minimum has a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree “preferred.”
The posting lists the salary range of between $120,000 and $160,000. Freeman was making $140,000 a year. The next manager must also move to the city within 12 months.
The posting states that finalists for the position will undergo an assessment process and be interviewed by City Council. Felton expects the finalists to be interviewed by City Council “if the council deems it necessary.”
Felton said in her email there is no set date to hire a new manager, saying that date will be “as soon as the mayor and council deems appropriate.”
Felton said the city did not seek an outside firm to assist in the search because the city has a “very qualified” Human Resources Department.
Felton, who retired as the city’s personnel director, said the city’s human resources department handled the manager’s search when former City Manager Rich Olson was hired for the position. Olson was the manager for 17 years before leaving for a job in Texas in 2020.
The city’s vacant manager’s job was also posted on the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the International City-County Management Association and the N.C. Black Administrators websites.
The next city manager will be confronted with a wide range of problems ranging from internal financial bookkeeping issues to aging infrastructure.
The state’s Local Government Commission placed the city on its unit watch list in September of last year.
The city has still not submitted its fiscal 2020-21 audit to the LGC, a report that was due last Oct. 31. The city missed the deadline because of internal accounting problems.
The city’s 2021-22 audit is due Oct. 31 but work has not even begun on the document because the city’s previous fiscal year audit has not been submitted.