Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After two searches over the last six months and one rejected nomination last March, the Fernley City Council and Mayor Neal McIntyre have finally agreed on a new city manager.
The council rejected two nominations by McIntyre after interviewing the three finalists for the position at last Wednesday’s City Council meeting, but after a recess, the council reconvened and voted 3-2 to approve McIntyre’s appointment of Benjamin Marchant.
Marchant has been the Town Manager in Coventry, Rhode Island since 2021 and was previously the Township Manager in Springttsbury Township, York, Penn., City Manager of Coquille, Ore. and City Administrator in Jerome, Id. He was chosen over Sharon Jakubowski-Wolz, the Town Manager of Kearny, Az. and John Rostash, the Administrator of Planning, Zoning, Code Enforcement in Bucyrus, Ohio.
Marchant had been the first candidate nominated by McIntyre following the interviews of the three candidates, but that nomination failed with council members Ryan Hanan and and Stan Lau voting yes, and Felicity Zoberski, Albert Torres and Fran McKay voting no.
McIntyre then requested a recess to confer with the selection committee, and he came back and nominated Rostash. But he also was rejected, with Hanan and McKay voting yes and Zoberski, Lau and Torres opposed.
After another recess, McIntyre asked for another nomination of Marchant, and this time Hanan, Zoberski and Lau voted yes, with Torres and McKay opposed. McIntyre said the city is negotiating an offer letter for the position with Marchant.
Prior to nominating Marchant the first time, and again after each of the three votes, McIntyre said the decision was difficult and scary.
“It’s tough to figure out who would be the best city manager,” McIntyre said. “People are going to work with this individual all day long every day.”
After Marchant’s appointment was affirmed, McIntyre again said the entire process made him nervous.
“Hopefully he will uphold his duty to be a good city manager and does the citizens of Fernley right,” McIntyre said.
Timeline of the City of Fernley’s City Manager search
January 30, 2023, Mayor Neal McIntyre approved the recruitment of the City Manager position.
March 15, 2023, City Council meeting, after interviewing three candidates, the City Council determined there was not a suitable candidate for the City Manager position. City Council directed staff to provide alternative recruitment.
April 5, 2023, City Council meeting, Council approved the outside recruitment process for the City Manager and directed staff to bring back a contract for Bakertilly, not to exceed $25,000.00.
April 19, 2023, City Council meeting, Council approved a contract with Bakertilly for City Manager recruitment services.
May 22 through June 2, 2023, Bakertilly performed the Leadership Management Benchmark Survey.
June 16, 2023, Bakertilly conducted the first review recruitment deadline for receipt and review of resumes and application materials.
June 16 through June 29, 2023, Bakertilly performed applicant reviews, which included screening applications and administering/ reviewing supplemental questionnaires; video interviews; preliminary media search; initial telephone interviews .
June 30, 2023, Bakertilly submitted the Semi-Finalist Report and Video Interviews to City of Fernley.
July 5,2023, Bakertilly Consultant met with City to review candidates; City selects finalists and discusses preferences for the interview process.
July 10 through July 14, 2023, the City Panel conducted interviews with the top seven (7) candidates selected.
July 17 through July 2023, upon selection of 3 finalists, Bakertilly completes background checks/academic verification, and in-depth media search on finalists: candidates complete Leadership-Management Style Assessment.
On July 17, 2023, the City Panel selected the top three (3) finalists to be interviewed at the August 2, 2023, City Council meeting. The candidates selected are Sharon Wolz, Benjamin Marchant, and John Rostash.
July 30, 2023, Bakertilly to submit the finalist report to the City of Fernley.
August 2, 2023, Three finalists interview with Mayor Neal McIntyre and City Council. Council approves McIntyre’s nomination of Benjamin Marchant as City Manager.