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Hunt for new Orange city manager nears end


Last updated 8/1/2019 at Noon

Photo: City council members check out City of Orange’s new grapple truck prior to Thursday evening’s special meeting at the Orange Public Library.

Dave Rogers / For The Record

Maybe next time.

Thursday evening’s closed-door session by the Orange City Council lasted 95 minutes and reportedly included pre-recorded video interviews with city manager wannabes.

It did not include a decision on who will fill the long-vacant job.

Council members have settled on a list of finalists from a group of 40 applicants, said Bob Turner, senior vice president of Strategic Government Resources, Inc., the executive headhunter firm that conducted the search.

Another special meeting was called for 9 a.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 6, at which time council members will interview the finalists and could follow up by naming a full-time successor to Shawn Oubre, who resigned last October after 13 years on the job.

Orange Mayor Larry Spears, Jr., referred all questions to Turner.

“Next week, council will be interviewing some applicants and make a determination if any of those three are going to wind up the city manager,” Turner said.

After saying there were three finalists, Turner backtracked.

“I don’t like to release that number yet,” he said.

“They’re going to interview them next week. It’s possible they’ll make a selection, if they like what they hear from the applicants.”

Kelvin Knauf, Orange’s planning director and a former city manager in other cities, has been acting city manager since Oubre’s departure.

The process of replacing Oubre was delayed until after run-offs for city council elections were completed in June.

Turner last appeared before council July 9, when he delivered an oral report in another hour-and-a-half closed-door executive session.

“This was a review of what they’re going to do Tuesday,” John Cash “Jack” Smith, city attorney, said after Wednesday’s meeting.

“They weren’t going to hire anybody tonight.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, Jim Wolf, city public works director, showed off the city’s new $190,000 grapple truck to the council members.

The city ordered it after the 2019 budget passed last fall and it took 10 months to be delivered. It is the city’s third grapple truck available for hauling debris.

“We’ll put this one in the same rotation as the other two,” Wolf explained. “It takes a month to make the route, but this will get us caught up.”


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