A month ago, the Nogales mayor and council said they wanted to quickly hire a local candidate to be the city’s next manager and were hoping to get the interview process underway in a matter of weeks. But as of last Wednesday’s council meeting, nobody had been interviewed and council members were talking about temporarily filling the role through a public management staffing agency.

Councilman Nubar Hanessian touted the Fountain Hills, Ariz.-based firm Interim Public Management (IPM), which Hanessian said could fill the city manager job for a term of 90 days or six months.

“At least it would give us six months to go ahead, have a city manager here and then we can go ahead and look for a legit city manager,” he said.

Hanessian also said that having an interim manager could help spread the word about the job vacancy and encourage candidates to apply for the permanent position.

The Sept. 2 discussion signaled that the council is moving away from plans laid out on Aug. 5, when council members approved a motion to direct Deputy City Manager John Kissinger to reach out to four candidates and set up interviews.

During that meeting, Councilman Marcelino Varona, Jr. mentioned former Santa Cruz County manager and mining executive Greg Lucero, as well as former director of the Cochise College-Santa Cruz Center Gabe Galindo, as candidates that could be considered.

But last Wednesday, Kissinger said that only one of the candidates he contacted had expressed interest in interviewing for the job – and that interview never happened.

Varona wasn’t happy with the change of plans. “What are we agreeing upon (during council meetings) if, outside the doors here, decisions are being made?” he asked.

“I don’t want to interview just one person,” Mayor Arturo Garino replied.

On Sept. 2, the council agreed to return to the question at a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9, with an eye toward discussing whether IPM would allow the city to interview candidates provided by the firm as well as the remaining local applicant.

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