WALLA WALLA -- Seven finalists have been chosen in the search for a new city manager.
Included in the list released this morning is the current interim city manager, Tim McCarty.
Community members are invited to meet the candidates and learn more about them at a reception Monday from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Empire Room of the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, 6 W. Rose St.
The candidates also will be interviewed Monday and Tuesday by four panels consisting of community members, city staff and council members.
Those sessions will not be open to the general public.
The finalists and their backgrounds, released today by city Human Resource Manager Jennifer Seekamp, include:
Neal Beets, who most recently was city manager for Federal Way, Wash., where he served for almost three years. Prior to that, he was city manager for Roseville, Minn., for five years. Beets also was city attorney for Mesa, Ariz., for 14 years. He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Arizona State University College of Law.
Kenneth Carter, who has been in city administration for over 30 years. He most recently served as interim public works director for the city of Walla Walla from June-November 2008. His background also includes 11 years each as city administrator for Prosser and city manager for Hays, Kansas. He received his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Fort Hays State University, Kansas.
Charles Freeman, who currently is city manager at Coos Bay, Ore. He has been with the city since June 2007. Prior to that, Freeman was city manager for Airway Heights, Wash., for over four years, and also served the city as public works director for three years before becoming city manager. Prior to his municipal government experience, Freeman worked in the private sector health-care field where he was a nursing home administrator and executive level district manager. Freeman has a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Iowa.
Tim McCarty, who currently is interim city manager for Walla Walla. He has been the city's support services director since 2001. Prior to that, McCarty was director of student affairs at Washington State University for nine years, associate director of student affairs at the University of South Florida -- Tampa for six years and assistant director of the St. Paul Student Center, University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities, for 10 years. McCarty received his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Minnesota -- Minneapolis and his master's degree in education from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
Nabiel Shawa, who currently is city administrator for Washougal, Wash. He has been with the city since 2004. Prior to that, Shawa served the city of Long Beach, Wash., for a combined period of nearly 20 years as city administrator. He has also been the director of general services for Pacific County, Wash. Shawa received his bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from Washington State University.
William Verwolf, who has served in local government since 1971. He has been city administrator for Lynden, Wash., since 2001. Prior to that, he was city administrator for Monroe, Wash., for four years and city manager for Helena, Mont., for 12 years, where he was also administrative services director for eight years. Verwolf has also served the city of Bozeman, Mont., and Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska, during his career in public service. He received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Montana State University -- Bozeman.
Craig Ward, who has been with the City of SeaTac, Wash., since 1996. He has been city manager for the past four years. Prior to that, he was assistant city manager for five years and principal planner for four years. Ward has also served the Jefferson County, Wash., planning and building department and was the director for three years. His experience also includes work as a private-sector land use planning consultant and he has been a council member for the city of Pullman, Wash. Ward has bachelor's and master's degrees in forest management and a master's degree in business, all from Washington State University.
The finalists were selected earlier this month from more than 60 candidates who applied in a nationwide search. The council could select a new city manager within a month.
The position was left vacant by the resignation of Duane Cole in March after seven years on the job. He was hired shortly afterward as county manager for Clatsop County, Ore.