The city council has chosen two candidates to interview as the search continues for Nogales’ next city manager.

At a Dec. 11 meeting, council members discussed two final candidates: Gilbert Burgos, a manager at the Arizona Division of Child Support Services, and Edward Johnson, an Army veteran and former administrator at the Maricopa County Attorney’s office.

But, at the same meeting that council members named those candidates, some expressed skepticism that any of the applicants were fit for the role.

“I looked through the whole list and… it was very hard for me to even come up with a name,” Mayor Arturo Garino said, adding that one of his preferred candidates had dropped out of the application process after taking another job.

Councilman Nubar Hanessian said he wanted to re-open the application process, with the goal of getting candidates with more directly relevant experience.

But the council eventually agreed on a plan to interview both candidates in early January.

“It’s always been the interview process that makes my decision,” Garino said, “So in the interview process I might change my mind.”

At last Wednesday’s meeting, Kissinger suggested that the city wasn’t going to release the names of three candidates whom the city council was considering, but Councilman Marcelino Varona, Jr. put two names on the record.

“I’m ready to discuss this out in the public,” Varona said before stating that Burgos and Johnson were his two preferred candidates.

Councilmembers Esther Melendez-Lopez, Hector Bojorquez, Jorge Maldonado, Robert Rojas all indicated that they agreed with Varona.

Hanessian and Garino both indicated that they thought Johnson was a stronger applicant.

The city provided resumes for Burgos and Johnson following a public records request, but did not respond to the NI’s previous request for the names of three candidates that were submitted to the city council for consideration.

Both of the candidates are from the Phoenix metro area; Burgos is from Gilbert, Ariz. and Johnson from Goodyear, Ariz.

The two emerged from a field of 26 candidates who met the minimum requirements for the position, according to Kissinger.

And while both have worked in the public sector, they would bring different experience to city hall.

Burgos is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State University who has spent his professional career in the state department of economic security, most recently as a regional program manager for the division of child support services, according to his resume.

Johnson’s resume lists his latest job as deputy chief administrator at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and states that he served 21 years in the Army. His LinkedIn page states that he left the office in October and Acting Deputy City Manager Robert Thompson told the council on Dec. 11 that Johnson is currently an independent consultant.

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