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City Council reviews applications for city manager job

Salisbury City Council met Friday to go through applications for the city manager position.

Salisbury is looking for a permanent replacement for former city manager Doug Paris, who abruptly stepped down this summer after two years of running the city.

After the closed-session meeting, Mayor Paul Woodson said the city has received more than 50 applications for the job. He said the city will accept applications through midnight Tuesday.

Woodson said so far interim City Manager John Sofley is the only current city employee who has applied for the position. He said there were applicants from around the country.

“We’ve got a good start,” he said, adding the meeting was just preliminary and no decisions on applicants were made.

Woodson said a big factor in the search will be how council judges each candidate’s ability to guide the city’s broadband system, Fibrant, to success.

“We just want to make sure we get the right person,” he said.

The city has contracted with a Durham-based search firm, Developmental Associates, to assist in finding a new city manager.

The job description for the city manager position says the starting salary will be between $115,000 and $175,000. It says salary is negotiable depending on qualifications.

“The successful candidate will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and 10 years increasingly responsible professional experience in local government. Experience must be at a department head level or above (assistant manager or manager preferred,” the description says.

Selected candidates will participate in an “assessment center” tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29 and 30 in Salisbury.

Developmental Associates runs the assessment center, and the company’s website describes it as “a means of gathering relevant information, under standardized conditions, about an individual’s capabilities to perform a managerial position. In essence, an assessment center puts candidates through a series of group and individual exercises designed to simulate the conditions of a given job and determines if they have the skills and abilities necessary to perform that job.”

Woodson said he has been pleased with the way the city as run under Sofley, who has been with the city for more than 25 years.

Paris left in June after an hours-long closed-session meeting with City Council. Council members said the decision for Paris to leave was a mutual one between him and council. A specific reason for why Paris left has yet to be provided by city officials.

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