Woodstock city manager search down to final four

WOODSTOCK – City officials have narrowed the search to replace retiring City Manager Tim Clifton to four finalists.

From an original pool of 41 applicants, the in-house search committee brought the search to 10 candidates, interviewing each last month before narrowing the pool further.

As a part of the selection process, the four finalists will interview with the City Council and some search committee members in January.

Mayor Brian Sager said the committee was impressed with the “depth and breadth” of candidates.

City Council members plan to officially hire and approve a contract for the new city manager at their Feb. 19 meeting, according to the committee’s expected timeline for the search.

The chosen finalist will be put through reference and background checks, and a contract will be negotiated. The city has said it will negotiate from a base salary of $140,000. Clifton earns $175,000 annually.

The city elected to use an in-house search committee, rather than outsourcing, to take advantage of local knowledge of the needs of the Woodstock community. The internal search committee also saved the city about $20,000, officials have estimated.

Sager serves on the committee with City Attorney Rich Flood; Denise Graf-Ponstein, a community member; Deputy City Clerk Cindy Smiley; Derik Morefield, McHenry city administrator and former deputy city manager of Woodstock; and Human Resources Director Debbie Schober.

The city hasn’t planned any overlap between Clifton and the next city manager, who would start no earlier than May 1.

Clifton will step down April 30, after 20 years with the city.

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