City manager candidates to be whittled down

Published on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 by Brandy Kiger Shreve

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It seems there are plenty of people wanting to take Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic’s place when he retires this summer.

More than 40 hopefuls have thrown their hats into the ring since the position was announced in February and council is ready to begin sifting through the resumes.

The application period ended on April 5.

“I have a binder full of applicants for you,” said Kara Turner of Turner HR Services, as she handed out sealed manila envelopes to council members at their regular meeting April 8. Turner was recruited to facilitate the hiring process for the city. “Next Monday we will review the qualifications of the applicants and choose who to invite for interviews,” Turner said.

Turner encouraged councilmembers to choose their top 10 to 12 applicants in order of preference to help determine finalists. “I’ve already categorized them from strongest to weakest candidates based on the minimum qualifications checklist,” she said. “We just need to identify the top people we want to invite for an interview.”

Turner said ideally the hiring process will be completed by the end of May.

In other city news, crews have begun demolishing the Orca deck in Blaine Marine Park. After nearly two decades of marine weather, the  wood in the 5,000-square-foot deck has splintered, creating a hazardous environment. “Basically, it’s just 
degraded over time,” said city development director Michael Jones. “The whole deck surface needed to be replaced, and that just wasn’t in the budget.” He said that estimates to resurface the structure ranged from $20,000 to $60,000.

Jones said the weathered wood was causing tripping hazards, and the city’s insurance company had labeled it a liability. “There was a lot of potential for it to cut people’s feet,” he said. “It had to go.”

The deck was cordoned off with caution tape for several months and on Monday, city employees began removing it board by board.

In the short term, the city will turn the deck area into green space and will seed it with grass once the demolition is complete.

“There are plans for a seating area,” Jones said.

Jones said long-term plans are still up in the air. “Personally, I would like to see an interactive fountain there,” he said. “Something that you can run through and get wet. I think it would be a lot of fun for kids.”

“That’s the dream,” Jones said. “But I don’t know if it’s going to be a reality. The Park and Cemetery Board is exploring some more active uses for Blaine Marine Park, such as the possibility of play structures but spray parks are expensive.”