Mayor Tom Marion is confident Keokuk will announce the hiring of its new city administrator within the next two weeks. His declaration comes as the first round of in-person interviews is set to begin.
Marion said five candidates will meet with as many members of the Keokuk City Council as possible on Mon., Oct. 5. He said the interviews are scheduled to occur, in private, throughout the day.
"It will be a closed session," said Marion. "The next one, if we narrow it to two [finalists], will also be [closed] because they all signed the document saying they want these to be confidential."
Marion said the confidentiality agreement was provided by Lynch Dallas, the Cedar Rapids-based law firm leading the search. That means the public will not know the identities of any of the final five before the city council makes its decision.
That's in stark contrast to Keokuk's last search for a city administrator in 2007.
At that time, the three finalists participated in public forums prior to the selection of Odis Jones.
Jones ended up working for the city for just a few months before leaving to take a job on the East Coast. He currently serves as the CEO of the Public Lighting Authority in Detroit.
One of the other finalists from that search was Jim Ferneau, who currently serves as the city manager of Burlington, Ia.
Keokuk has left the position of city administrator vacant following Jones' unexpected departure.
Marion said 41 people applied for the post this time around. He said Lynch Dallas trimmed the list to 8 and a committee consisting of himself, Alderman Roger Bryant and Alderwoman Susan Dunek removed three more names, resulting in the five who will be interviewed on Monday.
Marion said each candidate will be asked the same series of questions. He could not provide the actual questions, but said they follow general themes.
"What are your ideas for growth for Keokuk?" said Marion. "What is your style [of management]? And also some stuff about their previous job."
Marion expects two finalists to be invited back for second appearances before the city council, with aldermen making their selection shortly afterwards.