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Council will have final say on selection of town manager

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Review process could go through June

By M.K. Luther -- mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Town Council has opted to make the final decision on selecting a new town manager itself instead of using an outside agency.

The council began the process by setting a timeline of closed-session reviews for the 12 applications Monday night.

The review process could take until the end of June, according to Mayor Timothy Darr.

Darr said the applications will be discussed in only in closed session, and time could be needed to schedule interviews with some out-of-town applicants.

Darr also said the council could establish committees to handle certain details of the interviewing and hiring, such as checking references.

Julie Bush, human resources director, narrowed the pool from the 38 total applications received by the April deadline, "vetting the applications," Darr said.

Darr asked the council about the possibility of hiring an outside agency to review and evaluate the applications. Council members ultimately chose to conduct the reviews and interviews themselves, rather than use an outside agency.

Councilman N. Shae Parker said the review process should be the panel's responsibility, not that of a for-hire agency.

"We were vested by the citizens of this town to make decisions," Parker said. "I think that this is a decision council should make."

Darr said tentatively stretching the proposed timeline over the next few weeks will allow for more in-depth review of the potential candidates. The schedule also will allow time for individual council members to raise issues or concerns, as well as set priorities and guidelines for the hiring process.

"This is when we will start pooling all that information together, once we narrow down the process a little," Darr said.

Parker also recommended keeping a May 31 work session as scheduled rather than skipping it because of the Memorial Day holiday.

With loaded agendas over the past few months, the extra work session might allow council members more time for a thorough review of the applicants, Parker said.

Currently, former town engineer Steven Burke is serving as interim town manager. Burke took over in September shortly after the council voted 3-2 in closed session to fire then-Town Manager J. Michael Graham.

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