Applications still being accepted to replace retiring city manager

By Kevin Wilson

STAFF WRITER

kwilson@cnjonline.com

The Clovis City Commission’s list of employees to hire, fire and evaluate isn’t long.

It’s one person — City Manager Joe Thomas, who will retire in 2015. It’s a task commissioners want to make sure they get right.

“For the city as a whole,” District 1 Commissioner Randy Crowder said, “I think it is of the utmost importance that we hire a very well-qualified city manager to replace Joe Thomas.”

The city is accepting applications for replacing Thomas, who has worked for the city 42 years in various positions and as city manager for the last 10. Crowder said while it might not be a realistic goal, it would certainly be a bonus if Thomas’ successor serves in the position as long as Thomas.

Going forward, Mayor David Lansford said he would like to have Thomas’ replacement hired in March, and hired via unanimous commission vote.

Lansford said the city is in the first phase of the process, where it has advertised in surrounding areas and in trade publications that a city manager position is available. City staff will take applications and compile them so information is indexable, Lansford said, but commissioners haven’t seen the candidate field so far.

“That’s intentional,” Lansford said. “We want to look at them together.”

Around mid-January, Lansford said the plan is to begin what he called distilling phases. In an executive session with commissioners, the applicant pool will be distilled to a number small enough to check references and do interviews via phone. Once that process is complete, the pool will be reduced to finalists, who will do face-to-face interviews and community visits if necessary.

Thomas’ successor will have important tasks immediately, Lansford said, noting that Police Chief Steve Sanders intends to retire sometime in 2015.

Lansford said throughout the process, Thomas’ opinion will be welcomed and considered, should he wish to supply it.

Under retirement terms accepted by the City Commission, Thomas will continue in the position until a replacement is selected, and will stay on as an assistant city manager until mid-April to help his successor with the state legislative session and other transition matters. Following that, he will utilize sick and personal leave, with a payout for any remaining leave time on Nov. 1.