HELENA — The Helena City Commission held deliberations Friday afternoon to consider which city manager candidates will be brought to Helena for final interviews. They conducted initial interviews with the candidates earlier this week.
The commission entered a closed session before its deliberations. Mayor Wilmot Collins said they would not announce their finalists until next week, after the consultant working with the city on the hiring process informed the candidates.
Commissioners were considering four candidates: Colorado state deputy director of local government Rachel Harlow-Schalk; Texarkana, Arkansas city manager Kenneth Haskin; former Springettsbury, Pennsylvania township manager Benjamin Marchant; and Commerce City, Colorado deputy city manager Troy Smith. A fifth candidate – Fort Bragg, California, city manager Tabatha Miller – withdrew her application.
Also during Friday’s meeting, commissioners discussed plans for the final interview process. The current plan is to bring the finalists to Helena for two days. Heather Gantz of the Novak Consulting Group said they are looking at holding the events the weekend of Aug. 14 through 16.
Concerns about COVID-19 have limited the public events that can be held with the city manager candidates. Gantz said the finalists will meet with community panels – made up of stakeholders nominated by the commissioners – as well as with a city leadership team, before the final interviews with the commission.
The city is seeking a permanent replacement for former city manager Ana Cortez, who left her position in February. Melinda Reed is currently serving as the interim city manager.