The Town of Purcellville could be just a week away from selecting its new town manager.
With a tentative selection date set for March 2, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and all Town Council members met at the Purcellville Train Station on Friday to hold interviews with three town manager candidates. An afternoon closed session with Administration Director Hooper McCann was also held to provide the council with the department head feedback.
Each interview began with a 10-minute candidate presentation on operational audits for council members to assess their presentation skills. For the next hour and a half, candidates answered 20 questions about working and community relations, technical skills and management style. Background checks on criminal and civil history, education, driving records and credit were also conducted.
“I was pretty impressed with what we saw,” said Councilman Ted Greenly. “There was a lot of enthusiasm—it was clear they had done their homework.”
Councilman Doug McCollum said the council has selected two candidates for final interviews that could begin next week. In this phase, candidates will meet with council members in an informal setting, such as dinner, before they meet again for their final, 45-minute discussions. An independent source will also conduct a more thorough background check on candidates’ personal, professional and peer-based information.
Once the council selects the top candidate, Fraser and another town representative will negotiate a final offer. A formal selection could be announced in an open session as early as Friday, March 2. The new town manager could then start work by the first week of April. “I don’t see any impediments,” Greenly said.
The town last month received 29 applicants for the job. Since then, council selected five candidates for one-hour interviews with department heads and three for last week’s interviews with council members.
Purcellville has now been without a permanent town manager for nine months. When Rob Lohr retired last May, the council tapped former public works director Alex Vanegas to act as interim town manager, which he did until November when he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his conduct.
In September, Town Council voted to conduct the town manager search using in-house resources. Vice Mayor Nedim Ogelman and Councilman Ryan Cool were appointed to put together a recruitment package, which was advertised between October and January.
John Anzivino has filled the interim spot since Dec. 18. While the council has yet to decide whether his role will overlap that of the new town manager, McCollum said it might be a good idea for Anvizino to stick around briefly to help with the transition. “He’s been here long enough to have a sense of what’s going on in the community,” he said.