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Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima is eager for the city council to bring its next city manager on board.
The city had 101 applicants for the position. The recruiting company hired by the city narrowed that field to 10 candidates, which the mayor and council pared to five during a March 4 closed meeting. The five finalists will be interviewed Tuesday-Wednesday, March 17-18, in Las Cruces. The interviews will include a panel consisting of the mayor and city council, a stakeholder panel (composition to be determined) and a panel of City of Las Cruces department directors. A community reception featuring the finalists will be help Wednesday evening, March 18.
The five finalists are Interim City Manager William “Bill” Studer, Assistant City Manager and Chief Operating Officer David Dollahon, Los Lunas Village Administrator Greg Martin, City of San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services Director Veronica Soto and Loudoun County, Virginia, Assistant County Administrator Kenneth Young.
Studer was named interim city manager last April 25, following the resignation of Stuart Ed, who served less than three years. Studer began work for the City of Las Cruces as assistant city manager April 3, 2017. He is the former assistant city manager of Arlington, Texas, and El Paso.
Dollahon has worked for the City of Las Cruces since 1990 as an intern, technician, planner, administrator, director of the Quality of Life Department, assistant city manager and interim city manager.
Jim Ericson was city manager when Miyagishima was first elected to represent District 6 on the city council in 2001. During his six years as a city councilor and more than 12 years as mayor, Miyagishima has been involved in the selections of Terrance Moore, Robert Garza and Ed as city manager, he said.
Miyagishima said he was pleased with the 10 candidates selected by the city’s consulting firm, and both he and City Councilor Gill Sorg, who is second to Miyagishima with more than 10 years of service on the council, said they were surprised that more than 100 people applied for the position, including applicants from 24 states and from outside the U.S..
Miyagishima said he is hopeful a permanent city manager will be selected by April 1 and will be on board in May.
“There are many attributes I will be looking for in a new city manager,” said Sorg, who was first elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. He served two years as mayor pro-tem. “The city manager’s position is “a very important job with many important tasks and duties,” Sorg said.
“Managers have tough jobs,” Miyagishima said, noting that their average stay during the last two decades has been about three years.