The Coast News Group

Applicant field for Encinitas City Manager down to seven

ENCINITAS—The consultant hired by Encinitas to handle the recruitment for a permanent city manager said he will recommend seven finalists to the City Council at meeting on Monday.

William Avery, the principal of the San Jose-based Avery Associates recruiting firm, said that 59 people applied for the city manager position currently held by Larry Watt, who replaced former city manager Gus Vina on an interim basis.

Vina resigned the post in January to take the same position in the Northern California city of Brentwood.

Avery said the 59 applicants were whittled down through a series of screenings, including background checks, telephone interviews and face-to-face interviews with him. Avery will present the finalists to the council, at which time the council could accept the recommendation or modify it with other names from the applicant pool.

Avery said the applicants came from across the Western United States and that the pool of finalists includes at least one female candidate. All seven have municipal managerial experience.

“Fifty nine is a good number (of applicants),” Avery said. “And that is because Encinitas is a very desirable place for people to be.”

The council hired Avery in January to conduct the search, at which time he told the council it would take about three-and-a-half to four months to recruit a new city manager. In February, Avery and the city hosted a community forum to solicit suggestions from the community about what qualities mattered in the person who would be hired to handle the city’s daily operations.

Avery said he also received two dozen emails from residents weighing in on the search.

“I would say that they wanted transparency, someone who understands the community and the unique nature of Encinitas,” Avery said.

Avery said if everything goes as planned, the new city manager could start work by June.

Monday’s meeting is a closed session hearing that starts at 10 a.m.