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Finalists picked for top city job"

The Sun of Mount Vernon, Iowa

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The City of Mount Vernon could have a new city administrator chosen as early as this weekend.

The city council this past Monday picked five finalists to interview Friday and Saturday

Residents and stakeholders are invited to take part in a public reception to welcome the final candidates Friday, Nov. 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Cornell College Thomas Commons.

The event will be the only opportunity for the general public to meet the candidates. City officials encourage both local and regional stakeholders to attend. The five finalists are:

John Benson, director of development and public affairs for the City of Raytown, Mo. Past experience also includes working as a planner in Clive and Marshall town.

Anton Graff, city administrator in Wilmington, 111. He formerly worked in city management for Rochelle, 111., and Yorkville, HI., and as a police chief in two Illinois cities.

Laurie Hebl, a budget analyst for the State of Iowa. She was formerly the director of finance and administrative services for the City of Indianola, and previously worked as a finance director in Hiawatha and as city clerk in Ely.

Terrence Neuzil, a Johnson County supervisor. He's a former reporter/news anchor for KCJJ Radio and was a public information officer for Johnson County Emergency Management.

Chris Nosbisch, city manager for Tipton. Nosbisch was previously an economic development director in Norwalk and a community development director in Burlington.

The city worked with Richard Fursman, president of executive search firm HUE, in the search. The nationwide search was announced earlier this year when current city administrator Mike Beimer announced his retirement as of Jan. 3, 2016, after 28 years on the job. Thirty-six had applied by mid-October.

Fursman narrowed the applicant field to 12 semi-finalists, and presented the applications to the council and mayor. Fursman on Monday described the characteristics of each candidate, and asked the council and mayor to each choose five to interview. Three were unanimous choices.

The council selected candidates with experience in finances, aclminis-tration/management, planning and economic development.

Among the semifinalists not chosen were some with little to no experience in government, a retired Marine colonel, and someone Fursman described as "your next generation manager... up-and-coming."

The finalists will interview with city department heads and a panel of citizens. They will also be interviewed by current and incoming elected city officials. Saturday afternoon the council will make a final selection and discuss contract details.

"This weekend is an opportunity for the community to come together, Fursman said of the candidate interviews. "This is our opportunity to test them — lef s test them."

For the first time in nearly three decades, Mount Vernon will be choosing a new administrator. Mount Vernon mayor Jim Moore called it the "end of an era" and personally invited all stakeholders to the Friday event to meet the candidates.

Questions regarding the public reception or the hiring process can be directed to City Hall at 895-8742.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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