2015-08-06 / Front Page

City Manager Decision Elusive

By Barry Bridges

One year after former Newport City Manager Jane Howington left her job for a similar post in Ohio, there is no word on when a new administrator will take the lead at City Hall.

A consulting firm was hired six months ago to spearhead the recruitment of a new city manager, and several councilors said in May that the number of candidates had been narrowed down to about half a dozen prospects.

Councilors have convened in three executive sessions over the last month, but have seemingly been unable to move their deliberations toward a consensus. Consistent with the confidentiality inherent in personnel actions, they have not been forthcoming with information on the number of competitive candidates, a potential timeline for the hire, or what can be expected from here.

Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano told Newport This Week that the council may be revisiting some of the initial applicants and alluded to scheduling difficulties because of candidates’ summer vacations. Other councilors also declined to offer specific comments, citing the sensitive nature of hiring decisions. In the meantime, former City Solicitor Joseph Nicholson has filled the role on an interim basis.

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