Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 16, 2014

Robust interest in important post

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — We are happy to see that there is a lot of interest in the vacant city manager job for Bluefield. Make no mistake, it is a critical position for the city of Bluefield. That’s why finding the right candidate for the job represents a unique challenge for the Bluefield Board of Directors.

Mayor Tom Cole says about 40 people have submitted applications for the city manager position. That’s a good number, and provides the board with a wealth of candidates to choose from. It is our hope that a number of well-qualified candidates have applied for the job.

Former City Manager Jim Ferguson, who did an admirable job during his brief tenure, resigned from the post on Feb. 11 for unspecified reasons.

Cole says the board will hold a closed-door executive session to decide who to interview for the city manager position.

“We have all gone through the applications individually and ranked them ourselves,” Cole said last week.

Cole adds that the board will discuss who the top candidates are, and then decided which of the 40 applicants will be interviewed.

He says both local and out-of-state candidates have applied for the job, and notes that the earliest the board could have a new city manager on board would be June.

The position is of critical importance. Bluefield is facing many challenges, and difficult decisions will have to be made in the weeks and months ahead. For example, the long-planned Colonial Intermodal Center project remains inactive due to a lack of federal and state funding, and the city is still lacking a new grocery store to replace the old Kroger. And a continuation of work on the downtown depot district vision also must continue.

Whoever is ultimately selected to serve as the new city manager will have to be at the forefront of addressing these and many other challenges. We wish the board members the best of luck in finding the right individual for the job.