Three Finalists Named for Kalispell City Manager Position

By Beacon Staff

The search for the next Kalispell city manager has been narrowed down to three out-of-state candidates.

After reviewing 44 applicants, the City Manager Search Committee announced Monday that it had selected three finalists – Doug Russell of Yankton, S.D.; Tom Steele of Pleasant Grove, Utah; and John Sutherland Jr. of Santa Fe, N.M. A fourth finalist withdrew from consideration because of a family emergency.

The three men will tour Kalispell and meet city staff on March 29. An open community reception will be held in the evening and the public is encouraged to attend and meet the finalists. The specific time and location of the reception is yet to be determined. Mayor Tammi Fisher and the City Council will formally interview the candidates on March 30 at City Hall. These interviews will be open to the public and the interview times will be announced closer to the date.

The city council will deliberate in executive session to decide on a hire. If the position is offered to a finalist, Fisher and Interim City Manager and City Attorney Charlie Harball will negotiate a contract.

Russell, who graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, has been the city manager in Yankton since 2008. He has more than eight years of experience as city manager in three cities.

Steele was most recently the city manager in West Jordan, Utah, for almost two years. Collectively he has more than 29 years of experience as a city manager and assistant manager of several cities.

Sutherland was most recently the county manager of Luna County in New Mexico from May 2009 to July 2011. He has more than nine years of experience as a city and county manager and division manager of a Native American government in the Southwest.

Kalispell’s city manager position has been vacant since early January when Jane Howington resigned.

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