Red Bank commissioners have taken the next step in their nearly yearlong quest to hire a new city manager.
During a meeting Tuesday, commissioners whittled a list of 21 applicants to five top picks.
None of the finalists are local, or finalists from the last selection process the commission undertook last fall. The latest picks are Seagrove, N.C., city planning consultant George Hayfield; Charles Beale, city manager of McKenzie, Tenn.; David Strohl, town business manager of Morton, Ill.; Andrew Hyatt, city manager in Fairview, Tenn.; and Randall Smith, the CEO of a company that helps private sector businesses form government partnerships.
Only two locals -- Virgil Adams, who was the city's manager in the 1970s, and CPA Keith Ponds applied this time around, in contrast to the nearly all-local panel of finalists from last year's unsuccessful appointment process.
The only nonlocal candidate from that process -- Salisbury, N.C., revitalization director
Randy Hemann -- ultimately ended up being the commission's unanimous pick for the job in December. Hemann later turned the job down.
Millard said the false start with Hemann made him want to avoid a similar situation and a "bidding war" involving the city manager salary.
"We don't want another fiasco like that," he said.
Commissioners will begin interviewing candidates Sept. 25. Candidates will have to pay for their own travel costs, commissioners decided.
The city manager position has been vacant since October 2011, when then-city manager Chris Dorsey was fired.