City manager

McAlester is another step closer to getting a new city manager.

City councilors completed interviews Wednesday night of four candidates to replace City Manager Pete Stasiak, who is set to retire June 30 — then voted to enter negotiations with a finalist.

McAlester Mayor John Browne said the council couldn’t yet reveal the lone finalist but believes they made the right choice.

“They’re all really good candidates and we couldn’t have made a bad pick,” Browne said. “We just thought that the one we hope we can get a contract with is the best fit for McAlester.”

Browne said the hiring committee of himself and Councilors Weldon Smith and Billy Jack Boatright will meet Friday to review contracts of previous McAlester city managers to determine parameters for the one offered to the finalist.

He said the goal is to have a contract agreed upon by June 2 so a special meeting could be called to make the hiring official.

City councilors interviewed two candidates Monday and two candidates Wednesday during executive sessions in special meetings.

A final candidate walked out of city hall around 8 p.m. Wednesday, while council members remained upstairs until 8:23 p.m.

Councilors returned to open session in the chambers, quickly voted to authorize the city attorney to enter negations, then adjourned the meeting.

Browne said he is believes the lone finalist is the best fit for McAlester.

“I’m confident, unless something unfortunate would come up, that this person could be a long-term city manager,” Browne said. 

The city received 11 applicants for the city manager position, but five did not reach the minimum qualifications and another did not complete the application. 

McAlester’s city charter calls for the council to appoint a city manager “by a majority vote of its total membership” based on the following minimum qualifications:

(1) A Master's Degree with a concentration in public administration or a related discipline, and two years of experience in an appointed managerial or administrative position in a local government; or (2) A Bachelor's Degree and five years of such experience.

The charter states the city manager doesn’t need to reside in McAlester when appointed, “but shall reside within the City while in office.”

Six applicants qualified for the city manager’s position under McAlester charter, with the council interviewing four. 

Councilors set aside an hour for each of the four interviews and asked candidates questions in a round-robin format before allowing time for the candidates to ask them questions.

Browne said councilors asked candidates about economic development strategies, prior experience with unions, tax increment finance districts, strategic planning, and more.

“We were looking for who we thought would be the best fit for McAlester,” Browne said. 

Browne said the council wanted to hire someone who would interact with the public and fit in with the community.

He said councilors agreed they wanted a long-term commitment — “ideally 10 years,” Browne said — from someone they believe would excel at the job.

“We wanted someone that could say ‘here’s what the city needs and it’s going to take three years to do that, here’s how we’re going to do it,’” Browne said.

City Manager Pete Stasiak submitted a letter to city councilors in December informing them of his intention to retire at the end of his contract, June 30, 2022. He was only required to give 60-days notice, but said he wanted to give councilors time to search for a replacement while he was still on the job.

Trending Video

Recommended for you