Second Kalispell City Manager Finalist Backs Out

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell is postponing interviews with city manager candidates scheduled for this week after the second of its three finalists for the job backed out of the application process. Kalispell planned to have the three finalists travel here Thursday for a public reception and public interviews with the city council Friday. But last week John “Jay” Krauss, the current city manager of Lewiston, Idaho contacted Kalispell Interim City Manager Myrt Webb and told him he would not be making the trip, since he was uncomfortable with a public interview for the job. This was Krauss’ fifth time reaching the finalist stage of a city manager search in just over a year, including as a finalist for Whitefish’s recent city manager search.

Krauss confirmed Saturday he would not be coming to Kalispell, Webb said, adding such interviews with city council must be public in accordance with Montana’s open meeting law, and that it is not an unusual part of the application process.

“This is the first time this point has ever come up,” Webb said. “His experience must be different.”

Krauss’ decision comes on the heels of another candidate, David Johnston of Rantoul, Illinois, backing out of the running for Kalispell City Manager on Friday. Webb said Johnston is negotiating for another job that he is likely to take. That leaves Robert Stockwell, who works in finance in Riverton, Utah, and whose most recent municipal experience was as the city manager of Sunnyside, Washington from 2003 to 2007. Stockwell remains a candidate for the job, but will not travel to Kalispell until additional finalists are selected.

Kalispell’s city manager selection committee will meet Friday to once again comb through the 54 applications received for the job, Webb said, and select additional finalists. Once there are a handful remaining, the city will reschedule another public reception and interview.

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