2 city admin candidates withdraw

The city of Austin’s city administrator candidate pool has become a little smaller.

Andrew Morris has withdrawn his name from contention for the top city government job in Austin. Morris, the city manager of Moberly, Missouri, confirmed his withdrawal Friday. City officials also confirmed one of two candidates invited for further interviews has declined, which means there are only three candidates left for the job.

Morris

Morris

The Austin City Council interviewed Morris and three other candidates on Sept. 20 but couldn’t decide on a candidate during a Sept. 24 meeting. The council eventually voted to bring in two more candidates who previously withdrew their interest as they couldn’t make the initial interview dates. Council members also voted to eliminate Pat Oman, city administrator in Moose Lake, Minnesota, from contention.

City staff have yet to make the other candidate public. The city hopes to conduct another interview on Oct. 3 and 4.

Mayor Tom Stiehm is pleased with the process thus far as he said the city needs to take its time and come to a consensus before hiring another administrator. Though two candidates have dropped interest in the job, Stiehm is confident in the city’s efforts to find a good fit for the top position in Austin.

“It’s too important of an issue to rush,” he said.

Council members were torn about the issue earlier this week. The council couldn’t agree on Kandis Hanson, Morris or Steve Wilke as the new administrator. Council Member Jeff Austin also called for the council to offer the job to Tom Dankert, the city’s finance director.

Dankert has handled administrator duties this year but repeatedly declined interest in the top city job.

Stiehm is hopeful the council continues to take its time.

“We’re going to do everything we can and then we’re going to make a decision,” he said.

Morris has been city manager for Moberly, Missouri, since 2007. Wilke has been the city manager of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, since 2000. Hanson is the city manager in Mound, Minnesota. She took that job in 2000.

The city has gone without a city administrator since last December, when the council fired former city administrator Jim Hurm.

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