Manager hopefuls introduced to residents

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By David Giuliani

Candidates for city manager met with the public and department directors on Tuesday.

Today, they’ll undergo interviews with a mayor-appointed selection committee. The committee members are Gus Cordova, who is with the recruitment firm Mercer Group Inc. and has 29 years experience as a city manager; local funeral home owner, former mayor and former state Sen. Alfred Nelson; and local real estate agent Corrine Leger.       

The candidates are Kelvin Knauf, former assistant city manager of Baytown, Texas; John Sutherland, former Tucumcari city manager; Robert Jasper, a former administrator of Grand Junction, Colo.-based Mesa County, Colo.; Timothy Dodge, current Santa Rosa city manager; and Dan Dible, former city manager in Las Vegas and Hobbs.                                                           

On Tuesday, the candidates toured city departments and were introduced to employees. They received briefings on the city’s finances and on planning, public works, police and utilities issues.

The candidates met with the public during a meet-and-greet session at the train depot early Tuesday evening.

The candidates are visiting the city during a rocky time at City Hall. Today, the council is expected decide whether to approve the mayor’s request to fire Utilities Director George Du Four, who Marquez suspended without pay a week and a half ago.

The city has been without a manager since Sharon Caballero suddenly resigned in mid-December. The mayor has informally selected Public Works Director Carlos Ortiz and Community Development Director Elmer Martinez as a “management team,” but Marquez hasn’t appointed an interim city manager.

To fire Du Four, the mayor will need the recommendation of the city manager. As such, he is expected to appoint one at today’s council meeting, a decision that will need the council’s consent. The mayor is keeping the name of his nominee for interim city manager a secret.