Kalispell to Select City Manager from Five Finalists

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell announced this week it has selected five finalists for the open city manager position. A public reception will be held Tuesday evening at the Hockaday Museum of Art, and interviews with the city council are scheduled for the following Wednesday at the Central School Museum.

The current round of interviews represents the city’s second attempt to select a candidate, after two of three finalists selected for the opening backed out in March. Interim City Manager Myrt Webb has held the post since his predecessor, Jim Patrick, was fired abruptly last October.

The current round of city manager candidates were selected from more than 50 applications received, and whoever gets the job will take Kalispell’s helm at a time of deep budget strains and dwindling cash reserves, due largely to the drop-off in new development caused by the current recession.

The salary for Kalispell city manager ranges between $95,000 and $125,000, with operational authority over a city of roughly 20,000. The manager will administer an annual budget of $52 million, and a staff of 190.

What follows are brief descriptions of the five candidates’ previous experience, based on their submitted resumes. The Beacon will report further on the candidates following their interviews next week.

John “Jay” Krauss is currently the city manager of Lewiston, Idaho, and was among the three finalists selected in March. He has held the Idaho post since 2006. Prior to that, Krauss served for 10 years as city administrator of Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; as city administrator of Niagara, Wis. from 1993-1996; and as village administrator of Huntley, Ill. from 1990-1992. Krauss holds a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University.

Jane Howington is currently assistant city manager for operations of Dayton, Ohio, a post she has held since 2007. Prior to that, she was city manager of Oxford, Ohio from 2000-2007; town administrator of Lunenburg, Mass. from 1987-1994; planning director of Acton, Mass. from 1986-1987; and chief planner of Methuen, Mass. from 1983-1986. Howington holds a master’s degree in public administration from Miami University of Ohio, and a master’s in urban and regional planning from Texas A&M University.

The only candidate currently in Montana, Edwin Meece, was city manager of Livingston from 2006 through March of this year. Prior to that work he was assistant director for general services administration and public works in the Louisville-Jefferson County metro area in Kentucky. Meece served as city administrator of Bardstown, Ky. from 1997-2003, and city administrator of Taylor Mill, Ky. from 1993-1997. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Kentucky University.

Joseph Frei was city administrator of Columbus, Neb. from 1999-2005. Other municipal experience includes serving as city manager for Highland, Ill., in the St. Louis metro area, from 1987-1996, and city administrator of Pocahontas, Iowa from 1984-1987. From 1997-1998 he handled the shutdown and preparation of the St. Louis stockyards for development. Frei holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Matt McKillip of Kokomo, Ind. is currently a management consultant. For most of last year, he worked as CEO and executive director of Katra Healthcare USA, launching healthcare products and lobbying the federal government for the Indian multinational company. McKillip served as mayor and manager of Kokomo from 2004-2007. Prior to that, he started his own high-tech consulting firm and ran it from 1995-2003. McKillip was an executive at Proctor & Gamble from 1986-1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

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