Two finalists for manager
The council was scheduled to conduct second interviews today with Ken Witt, 36, from Sparta and Eric Levitt, 40, from Sedona, Ariz.
"We thought they both had qualities that we were looking for in the next city manager," Loasching said.
The council interviewed five candidates over two days, and the final choices resulted from a strong consensus among council members, she said.
"Both have some strong qualities, and everyone is interested in speaking with each of them again and looking a little deeper this time and asking some specific questions in different areas, including leadership and economic development and fiscal responsibility."
While council members may have individually looked for a variety of qualities, they had collectively agreed on important qualities, including a strong background in economic development, leadership and fiscal responsibility. They are also looking for someone who is visionary and community-minded, Loasching said.
The council will use the second interviews to clear up any areas of concern.
Susan Robertson, village manager from Fox Point, also was a strong candidate, Loasching said. Robertson worked in Janesville as assistant to the public works director from 1984-87.
"We thought that she was very strong on her community-mindedness, and her heart was in the right place, " Loasching said.
But council members thought she lacked experience with Janesville's kind of issues, such as its industrial base and poverty.
"Fox Point is not industrial-based, and so she doesn't have to worry about the same economic development issues we have here," Loasching said. "She seems to have the knowledge. She just lacks experience."
After the second interviews today, the council will decide on its next step.
Members could make an offer to one of the candidates or could decide to send a delegation to visit the cities of one or both.
Or, they could initiate a third round of recruitment.
The council earlier this summer rejected five candidates from a first round.
"I think the council was much more excited this time," Loasching said. "I think they have a better feel this time what they are really looking for, and I think in general there was more of a consensus this time."
The two finalists scored high with the community panel, as well.
"The general feeling in the room was that some people might have liked one of the candidates better than the other. But the general feeling was that both of these two candidates rose to the top."
The first time around, both the community panel and the council were divided between the final two candidates.
"I'm very hopeful that we'll come away with at least a site visit from this round," Loasching said.
Experience: City manager in Sedona, Ariz., a city of 11,000, for seven years. Before that he was assistant manager and chief financial officer for five years, also in Sedona. He previously was village manager in Carlisle, Ohio.
Experience: City administrator in Sparta, a city of 9,000, for seven years. Before that he was administrator, clerk and treasurer in East Troy for five years and a public accountant for three years.