City Manager Charlie Duggan retired in February and left a vacancy that Jim Buston agreed to fill until a replacement was found. The search for a new city manager has begun and 50 candidates are in the running for the job.
Buston said he was close to retiring when his service was requested, which explains why he has decided not to apply for the position full-time. At the moment, Buston is working as the official city manager and is assisting in what ways he can with the search.
Buston said he expected Duggan to stay on as city manager until the election and was surprised when he left abruptly.
"When this happened I told the council I would be happy to stay on until they found another city manager and then I would stay on a little bit longer than that to help with the transition," Buston said.
Buston said what Auburn needs the most is someone to stay with the city long-term. He said the best city managers have stayed for 10 years or longer. The selection process ended on July 1, which began the evaluations of said 50 candidates. The consulting firm working with the city on the selection is Colin Baenziger and Associates.
The consulting firm will present the top five candidates to the city council on Aug. 14. Buston said the council will then have time to go over all of the information and when they are comfortable with the candidates selected by Baenziger, they will invite the candidates to Auburn on the Aug 21-22.
"The way I am recommending we handle this is the city council would meet as a group and interview each of the candidates one-by-one," Buston said. "After that, I would like to see each candidate meet with each council member one-on-one."
Buston said after initial meetings with the council have come to a close, the candidates would be presented to the public. This will give the council a chance to see how the candidates perform in public settings.
There will be a reception held for city and University leaders to come and interact with the candidates after the public hearing. The voting process will proceed after the reception where five of the nine city council members must agree on a candidate. Buston said although a unanimous vote is not required, it is preferred.
"When you are picking a city manager, it is really important that there is as much unanimity as possible," Buston said.
After looking at the final five candidates, the council members would decide which two should proceed through selection, a process that would be public.
On Aug. 21, the public sessions will begin tentatively at 10 a.m. with a tour of the city. Around noon, the city council interviews will begin. Buston is currently working with the schedule but believes the public session and reception will take place on Aug. 22.