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City Narrows Pool of Manager Candidates

By Jorge Casuso

November 3 -- The City Council will likely winnow down the field of candidates for City Manager to two Wednesday night, but council members kept tight-lipped about a closed-door process that has stirred speculation among political observers.

Four of the six finalists from a field of 20 candidates who made the first cut were interviewed on Tuesday night, and the final two are slated for interviews Wednesday.

"The six are good candidates," said Mayor Pam O'Connor. "I'm not going to say anything more."

Only one of the finalists has ties to Santa Monica, said Lisa Mills, the consultant leading the search.

One of the six finalists is from the East Coast and was a city manager "before doing something else," Mills said. Two others - a city manager and an assistant city manager - are from northern California.

The other two are from Southern California, where one is a city manager and the other runs a "special district."

Council members will likely invite either two, and perhaps three, of the candidates back for a final interview November 14.

"I don't know if it will be two or three," O'Connor said. "Clearly we are going to winnow it down, but I don't know what the magic number might be."

"Preferably we'll pick two, so we have one as a back up," said Council member Herb Katz. "So far I think it's a good group. They're diversified."

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