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City of Flagstaff

Flagstaff City Hall. 

Flagstaff City Council is hoping the third time is the charm as the city announced Wednesday four new finalists for the job of city manager.

According to a press release, the city received 51 applications for the position but has now narrowed that field to just four candidates, who will take part in in-person interviews with council and staff as well as a meet-and-greet for the public.

The four candidates are Steve Barwick, a former city manager of Aspen, Colorado; Greg Clifton, a former city manager of Vail, Colorado; Clifford Moore, who is currently the city manager of Yakima, Washington; and Andrew Bertelsen, who already works for the City of Flagstaff as the public works director.

Of the four candidates, only Bertelsen does not have previous experience as a town or city manager. But as the only internal candidate, he has worked for the city since 2016.

Before that, Bertelsen worked for Coconino County, the City of Sedona and the City of Chicago and is also a finalist for the position of deputy city manager at the City of Flagstaff.

Bertelsen has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning with a bachelor’s in public administration and political science.

Barwick had worked for the city of Aspen for nearly 26 years and as the city manager for 19 years. But Barwick left that position in January after the Aspen City Council asked Barwick for his letter of resignation, according to the Aspen Daily News.

The council’s request followed a number of controversies involving city administrators and claims that Barwick did not adequately communicate with members of the council and the public, according to The Aspen Times.

Barwick has a master’s degree in public administration with a bachelor of arts degree as well.

Clifton also resigned his position as the city manager in Vail in April after only 19 months on the job. Before that, Clifton had worked as the town manager of Telluride, Colorado from 2010 to 2017.

According to the Vail Daily, the parting was amicable and a mutual decision, although Clifton told a Telluride newspaper that he had planned to finish out his career in Vail.

Clifton has a master’s degree in public administration with juris doctor and bachelor of science degrees.

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Moore has been the city manager of Yakima since 2016, previously serving as the county manager in Thurston County from 2013 to 2016.

Moore has 28 years of public service with a master’s degree in multicultural education and a bachelor of arts degree.

On June 19, the city plans to have a meet-and-greet for members of the public to meet the candidates at the Murdock Center from 5 to 6 p.m. Earlier that day, the candidates have also been invited to present on the “Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030.”

The presentations will occur in the city council chambers at city hall from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be live streamed on the city’s website for those unable to attend in person. Feedback forms will be available at City Hall and online starting June 20 until 12 p.m. on June 24.

The city has been looking to fill the position since former city manager Josh Copley resigned early in 2018.

Since that time, city manager Barbara Goodrich has been in the position. 

The council came close to getting a new city manager earlier this year, but a third search had to begin after negotiations between the council and the city's preferred candidate broke down due to the salary offered.

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Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at askabelund@azdailysun.com, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on Twitter @AdrianSkabelund.

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