Gilbert is closer to picking a new town manager, as the Town Council on Thursday night identified Patrick Banger as a finalist and authorized a background check and further research.
Banger is an O’Fallon, Mo.-based economic development consultant.
“We had a plan that will take a couple of weeks, and it may still will,” mayor John Lewis said before the Council meeting. “But as we talked in executive session (on Monday), we felt that a lot of our questions had been answered, and we were comfortable taking a next step. (If approved, it) would give us flexibility to do some more vetting.”
The next Council meeting is July 28. Lewis said that a meeting could be called before then if the Council is ready to vote on a hire.
The other candidates were assistant town manager Marc Skocypec; Paradise Valley assistant town manager David Andrews; former Riverside, Calif., assistant city manager Tom DeSantis; former Fountain Hills town manager Tim Pickering and Washtenaw (Mich.) County deputy administrator William Reynolds.
“They impressed me with the research they did (for the interview process),” Lewis said. “They had a grasp of what we are dealing with and also knew the positives that Gilbert brings. We had six very good candidates, I think.”
Over two days last week, the candidates toured Gilbert, were interviewed by three panels and were assigned “problems” and delivered solution presentations to the Town Council.
“We had about two-thirds of the Chambers filled for those presentations,” Lewis said. “There were a lot of people at the meet-and-greet, and all sorts of people on the Internet gave feedback. I was pleased with the participation.”
In an accident of the calendar, the manager selection process coincided with Council elections that drummed up much passion in Gilbert. Three incumbents were voted out.
The citizen involvement has been an extension of the election interest, Lewis believes.
“Over a year ago, we laid out a schedule to move forward to find a new manager,” Lewis said. “Back then, it wasn’t on our radar, the election. Let’s say it wasn’t necessarily planned, but there were advantages in doing it this way.”
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