By Alison Ecklund

Larson Newspapers


Out of roughly 180 applicants, five remain in the running to becoming Sedona’s next city manager.

On Thursday, March 12, Sedona City Council met with their professional recruiter Phil McKenney of Peckham & McKenney to dissect the top 10 candidates.

The search began in December after former City Manager Eric Levitt resigned.

After an executive session to discuss the candidates, council moved to have McKenney contact six candidates to come to Sedona for an interview process. One declined.

“My perspective is out of 180 applicants, we had a wealth of talent to pull from,” McKenney said. “We’re looking at the best of the best.”

The five candidates are scheduled to be in Sedona on Thursday, March 26, to meet the public and hold interviews in executive session with council on Friday, March 27.

Candidates will also tour City Hall and meet with city department heads.

Council’s top priority for a new city manager is a good communicator. It is also seeking a leader with experience and unquestionable ethics and integrity.

During McKenney’s search, council made it clear that it wanted someone with an understanding of a tourism-based community with a strong financial background, including budgeting in a sales tax driven environment.

Council also asked for someone who will be involved in the community and has experience in retirement communities.

A bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field is required and a master’s degree is preferred.

“These folks have a depth of experience that I thought is what Sedona is looking for, and I think council agrees,” McKenney said of the five candidates.

After conducting a salary survey around Arizona, McKenney determined the city should offer a salary range of $140,000 to $180,000.

Frank Bell

Telluride, Colo., Town Manager Frank Bell has been with the city since 2006 after four years as town manager of Crested Butte, Colo.

He received a doctorate in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah, after graduating from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in history and education.

After time in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1973, Bell was chief investigator for Jackson Hole, Wyo., for nine years. In 1982, he became chief of police for 15 years, then director of Olympic planning and services for eight years in Park City, Utah.

Timothy Ernster

Timothy Ernster has been a city manager since 2004, starting in Lake Havasu City, before moving to Bullhead City in 2006.

He completed a master’s degree in public affairs from Arizona State University, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Northern Arizona University.

From 1979 to 2000, he worked for the city of Glendale, starting as assistant to the city manager and finishing as deputy city manager, in three aspects — community services, administrative services and community development.

Sam Grove

Sam Grove started his career as a community planner in Minnesota in 1980 after graduating from Indiana University with a master’s degree in public affairs.

He spent four years as assistant to the city manager in Wichita Falls, Texas, and 11 years as city administrator of Branson, Mo.

Since 1996, he’s been city manager of Cartersville, Ga.

Roger Klingler

Scottsdale Assistant City Manager Roger Klingler worked his way up at the city of Scottsdale, from management intern for the city manager’s office for one year in 1979, to assistant city manager in 1998.

In between, he filled the roles of assistant public information officer, management assistant, assistant to the city manager, assistant general manager, then general manager of water resources.

Klingler received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration from Michigan State University.

J. Carter Napier

J. Carter Napier has been the city administrator for Riverton, Wyo., since 2003.

In 1997, he served as executive intern to the city manager in Longview, Wash., for a year, before becoming assistant to the city manager of Casper, Wyo.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history and a Master of Public Administration from Brigham Young University.


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