BILLINGS- The search is continuing for a new Billings city administrator, and Wednesday behind closed doors, the City Council will reduce a list of 10 candidates down to five or six.
After that, the process to get a new leader in place could take weeks, city officials said.
The council will head into a closed-door executive session and work with a consulting firm to sort through the candidate resumes.
From there, the process will pick up next Monday evening at the council’s next business meeting, where Mayor Bill Cole said the final list will be unveiled to the public.
Last spring, interim City Administration Bruce McCandless told the council he was retiring from the position, but the search started even before that.
Cole said negotiations broke down last year when candidate Greg Doyon from Great Falls turned down the position over a compensation disagreement. Doyon had requested $165,000 annually and other benefits, such as six weeks vacation, and the city held firm at $155,000 in base pay.
Doyon had been chosen to lead the city after Tina Volek announced plans to retire.
Cole said the city is prepared to offer a salary that is competitive for a city like Billings at $165,000 to $190,000 based on experience.
So what traits are needed for the job? Cole said experience is most important.
“We are a large city with a budget of over $300 million, and that’s not somewhere where we want people to get on-the-job training. They need to come here with real experience with a large organization,” said Cole.
After Wednesday’s executive session, the council will invite the remaining candidates for interviews but it could be weeks before a new city administrator is chosen.