Dozens of Galt residents and city employees gathered at the Chabolla Community Center Tuesday night, Nov. 12, for a chance to meet the final three candidates for the vacant Galt city manager position.
Gary Davis of Elk Grove, Darin Gale of Yuba City and John Guertin of San Benito County were the final three candidates, chosen by recruiting firm Peckham & McKenney.
After mingling with those in attendance, the candidates gave a quick introduction of themselves. At the end of the evening, those whom The Galt Herald was able to speak with chose Gale over the others. That sentiment has been reflected on local Facebook pages since the meet and greet.
According to Phil McKenney, over 50 candidates applied through the city of Galt website, and the recruiting firm had 27 applicants after a wide search was instituted. McKenney said that most applicants were determined to not be qualified, which narrowed the field considerably.
Council members were shown the applications of over 10 candidates, five of which McKenney moved to the top of the stack, finding them a better fit for Galt over the others. Council members, at the time, had the chance to ask any of the bottom five candidates in for interviews, however, chose not to do so, according to McKenney.
Of the five finalists, two dropped from the running before interviewing took place, leaving Davis, Gale and Guertin.
The Council members chose to have three interview panels in addition to themselves. Each candidate spent approximately an hour with each panel, answering scripted questions provided by the recruiter.
The three panels included a panel of professionals, staff and community members.
The professional panel consisted of the two Galt school district superintendents, a board member from each school district, the Cosumnes Fire Chief, a retired city finance director and a city manager visiting from another city.
The staff panel consisted of a representative from the Galt Police Officers Association, Galt Police Department Civilians Association, Galt Public Service Unit and each department head.
City Council members each chose two people to sit on the community panel, hoping to get input from a large representation of community.
Tuesday morning, the three finalists met with the professional panel, community panel and their first round with the City Councilmembers.
After speaking to various members on both the professional and community panel, The Galt Herald learned that the professional panel recommended Gale as its top candidate, but the community panel chose Guertin; however, after the meet and greet Tuesday evening, several of those on the community panel changed their minds and said they would choose Gale.
After narrowing down to two finalists, the following day, the candidates met with the staff panel, which, according to various panelists, was a 50/50 split between Gale and Guertin.
City Councilmembers had another round with each candidate, this time not using scripted questions. Council then met in closed session late Wednesday; however, no decision was made on whom the new city manager would be.
Although occurring before press time, Council met last night; however, naming a new city manager was not on the agenda. Council can choose one of the finalists or decide to start the recruitment process again, negating the input from all panelists.