No decision made following more than nine hours of closed session city manager interviews

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, March 29, 2022

SALISBURY — Council members spent more than nine hours across two closed sessions since Thursday to conduct interviews with finalists for the city manager position.

Salisbury City Council gathered in-person Thursday evening for a closed session that spanned more than two hours before it was recessed. Monday’s meeting began at 8 a.m. and spanned more than seven hours. Ultimately, no action was taken before the meeting was adjourned.

It is not yet known when the council will arrive to a decision.

“It’s a process,” said Mayor Karen Alexander, who’s assured the council will make an “excellent decision.”

Former City Manager Lane Bailey retired from the city in December, with Brian Hiatt hired in November to serve in the interim. Hiatt spent a nearly 20-year stint as city manager of Concord before retiring in 2018. Chicago-based consulting firm Baker Tilly was hired in October to assist the city in recruiting candidates for the next manager. A representative from the Baker Tilly firm was present at closed session meetings.

City Clerk Kelly Baker told the Post earlier this month that the candidate pool was narrowed from a total of 62 applicants. Alexander didn’t state how many finalists are being interviewed at this time, but said they were “excellent” and that council is being responsible.

Salisbury’s governing body utilizes a council-manager model where the city council sets goals and a vision for the city and tasks the manager with handling the day-to-day affairs and managing city employees.

Earlier this month, council members approved an extension to the existing employee agreement with Hiatt. The agreement states that Hiatt can continue serving in an advisory capacity until April 30 if a new manager is hired before then. He is currently piecing together the 2022-23 fiscal year budget using council feedback from the two-day planning retreat in January. The budget goes into effect July 1, so a recommended budget must be presented to council members no later than June 1.

A virtual option was not made available for either of the meetings and was not included in the special meeting notice. Council members met in the council chambers of City Hall for both meetings.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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