The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 10, 2014

Enid city manager search should be as open as possible

ENID, Okla. — What qualities should Enid’s next city manager have?

The Pace Group, of Tupelo, Miss., is currently interviewing city commissioners for their opinion on potential qualities, challenges and goals for the important hire.

 “They interviewed us and just asked us some questions about us and what our interests and personalities were like, because they’re kind of going to be doing some matchmaking,” Ward 5 Commissioner Tammy Wilson said. “I think they’re just trying to get a feel for each one of us, individually, so they would kind of know what to look for.”

The firm is writing a refined job description to submit to the commissioners in the next few weeks.

Now is the time to make your opinions known to your city commissioner. Readers are welcome to submit signed letters to the editor of no more than 300 words, or they can comment online at EnidNews.com or on the Enid News & Eagle Facebook page.

In 2006, four city manager candidates were interviewed by city commissioners, and two Enid residents were in the mix.

In all, 54 applicants expressed interest. That search for a city manager started after Jerry Erwin resigned the post after three years. Finance Director Jerald Gilbert filled in as interim city manager.

Retired Navy Capt. Eric Benson was chosen as Enid’s last city manager. Benson will retire at the end of this year, concluding an eventful eight-year run as Enid’s top public employee.

Commissioners opted not to hire a professional search firm back then, choosing instead to conduct the search themselves through the city’s Human Resources Department.

Our hope is that this year’s city manager search process remains as open as possible. Which direction should our city be headed? We hope the commission listens to citizens’ voices.

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