The process to hire Claremore's new city manager is almost over.
After reviewing 71 applications, the city has begun contract negotiations with a finalist and expects to fill the position by early December, according to Cheena Pazzo, a spokeswoman for the city.
The city narrowed its search to two finalists, and last week chose to begin contract negotiations with one of them. During a special meeting Nov. 10, the city council appointed Mayor Bill Flanagan and Councilor Scott Savage to lead the contract negotiations, Pazzo said. The council plans to meet again about progress on negotiations and possibly vote to hire the candidate.
The city hasn't released the finalists' names.
Claremore began the search for a new city manager in July, when Jim Thomas resigned after eight years in the position. John Feary, executive director of the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority (CIEDA), was appointed interim city manager.
The city council accepted Thomas' resignation in a meeting July 6 and approved a settlement agreement based on terms of his contract. Thomas received one year of salary ($142,000) and the balance of his 240 accrued vacation hours ($22,945), according to Pazzo.
Thomas' exit came after the city's 2021 fiscal year budget was completed in May. The city budgeted $146,000 for the position for the fiscal year, which began July 1 and ends June 30, 2021, Pazzo said. After Thomas' departure, the city council approved a budget amendment to address the increase Claremore would pay for the city manager position during the fiscal year.
"Therefore, the budget for that position should not create a deficit," Pazzo said.
The new city manager's salary hasn't been determined and will be "based on experience and qualifications of the selected candidate," Pazzo said.