Gila County officials have poured through 300 applications for the open top manager spot, and are whittling the field. And don’t pick “Mr. Dynamic,” one supervisor requested.
A series of eliminations will leave six candidates to face an interview panel composed of three internal and three external people. The resulting three will then interview face-to-face with the board of supervisors.
If the board isn’t happy with any of those candidates, county officials will re-sift through the pile of candidates, acting County Manager John Nelson told supervisors Tuesday.
Supervisor Shirley Dawson warned Nelson against being seduced by smooth talkers. She told a story about a finalist for a job — “Mr. Dynamic” — with encyclopedic knowledge and flashy responses to questions.
Then another, not exceptionally well-spoken candidate, was asked about his greatest teacher. The man began talking about the children he worked with and everyone around him melted.
“Don’t jump to any decisions,” Dawson said. “Sometimes Mr. Workhard is better than Mr. Dynamic.”
The nationwide search for a new county manager began in February following the death of Steve Besich. Nelson said he hopes to find a new manager by early June, which would allow the board to honor the 120-day hiring freeze in place to manage costs.
Candidates have appeared from around the country.
The three internal people on the interview panel will likely include Nelson, Personnel Director Berthan DeNero and Library Director Jacque Griffin.
External panel members have yet to be determined, but may include Manny Gonzalez, an administrator from Pinal County.
Nelson said he’s calling other counties to see if their managers would like to help in the search.
Supervisor Mike Pastor worried that placing Griffin, who is Supervisor Tommie Martin’s sister, on the interviewing squad created a conflict of interest.
“Tommie, are you applying for county manager?” asked Dawson in jest.
Nelson said he didn’t think the relationship posed a problem, but that he would double check with legal counsel.
Pastor said he simply wanted to avoid the perception of wrongdoing. “It’s not fun getting raked through the coals when you know you haven’t done anything wrong.”