The East Ridge City Council will interview its three city manager candidates one last time next Friday.
The council voted during its Thursday meeting to bring in all three men who did preliminary interviews last week. Jim Coleman, Kenneth Creque and Chris Dorsey will meet with the council in front of interested residents beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The council also voted to give each candidate $300 in travel expenses. All three men live 500 to 600 miles from East Ridge, though Dorsey would probably spend less money than the others. He is the former Red Bank city manager, and his family still lives in Chattanooga.
The councilmen debated how much the city should pay to host the candidates.
"The city doesn't need to be paying any airline tickets," Marc Gravitt said. "If they want to drive, that's fine. I don't have a problem with paying a per diem or one-night stay at Holiday Inn Express or one of those places right here in East Ridge where they might want to stay."
While the council decided to hold the interviews next Friday, that date isn't firm, at least not for all three candidates. Interim City Attorney Hal North will call them to make sure they can make it then. If someone can't, the city will settle on another time for that person.
Councilman Denny Manning missed the first round of interviews last week, when Coleman and Creque met with the council through Skype and Dorsey did so in person. Manning was on vacation, and on Thursday he asked the council why they needed an extra interview.
The other candidates explained that the first interview was merely a meet and greet. This time, council members expect to grill each candidate for at least an hour.
"I've been on [the council] for two years. This is the most important thing I've done because this is going to lead up to what happens maybe for four to eight to 10 years down the road, if we're blessed," Vice Mayor Jim Bethune said. "I think all three were very good in interviews."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6476.