Maricopa’s search for a new city manager has been narrowed to three candidates who spent time with city staff and council and met with members of the public on Friday. The public reception was held at Global Water headquarters, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We look forward to this public participation time, in which the community has come out to meet the candidates and give us their impressions,” said Mayor Anthony Smith.
The national search for a new city manager attracted 73 applicants, a number that was narrowed to 15 and then to the final three by consulting firm Waters-Oldani and the city council. The city hired the firm for $22,000 to help replace former City Manager Kevin Evans, who announced his intention to leave in September and stepped down in January.
“The thing I was most impressed with was the quality of the candidates and the varied background they brought,” said Councilmember Carl Diedrich. “It really gave us the ability to see different perspectives and have the opportunity to talk with three unique individuals and understand their different approaches.”
The three finalists are Ms. Bola Akande, Ms. Brenda Fischer and Mr. Steve Crowell. All three hold master’s degrees in Public Administration.
“It was great to see that the city council not only put together a very aggressive strategic plan, but they are actually making inroads,” said Akande, who serves as assistant city manager of Richmond Heights, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.
“They are making progress towards accomplishing their goals. That in itself is exciting and what really fascinates and appeals to me is that this council has the intuition and fortitude to think about the future.
“Over the past ten years Maricopa has exploded rapidly and must look ahead to fill the needs of its citizens. The open and transparent process of hiring a person to manage this growth is very important.”
“Maricopa is a growing city,” said Crowell, a candidate from North Port, Fla. “I see a lot of opportunity and challenges. The community I came from is very similar to Maricopa in its stage of development.”
The three candidates toured the city on Friday and learned about the council’s plans for city development.
“I had an opportunity to meet with the council and learn about their vision,” said Fischer, who is deputy city manager in Glendora, Calif. “Pointing to a corner and saying this is going to be a park and this is going to be city hall was exciting.”
The council expects to pick a candidate by April 19.
“The process has been very thorough,” said Councilmember Alan Marchione. “I think the final candidates all have very strong attributes. The city wants to see a new city manager come in and grab the bull by the horns and lead us into the future with the policy set forth by the council. The new manager will help us shape the face of Maricopa to be a very vibrant and exciting community and help us bring closure to many of the projects we are working on.”