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As the City of Brentwood enters the holiday season, topping its list of needs is a new city manager to replace the now-retired Gus Vina.

The recruitment period closed in late October, and now an outside executive search firm and the city council will narrow down the candidate list.

“The recruiter is now reviewing the resumes submitted and will be in touch with the council later on this month to discuss the top candidates,” said Sukari Beshears, Brentwood’s director of human resources. “Then in December, the council will be reviewing those top candidates. The hope is to have the next city manager on board by February.”

Assistant City Manager Terrence Grindall, who was hired earlier this year and is in the running to earn the full-time position, has assumed the interim city manager position since Vina left in mid-October.

“I hope they choose me, but regardless, I will ensure a smooth transition,” Grindall said.

City leaders have outlined a list of 15 desirable traits for city manager, which indicates the search is on for a confident, organized, open-minded leader who is fearless, a good negotiator, invested in the community, politically astute, a good communicator and understands that regional cooperation will bring future economic development opportunities and partnerships, according to an official brochure advertising the position.

Knowledge of local-government financial issues, economic development, transportation and planning, public safety, and experience working with developers to negotiate in the best interests of the city is also desired.

“We need someone that can look to the future, someone energetic that can keep Brentwood intact and progressive,” said Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor.

The chosen candidate — expected to earn a yearly salary of between $230,000 and $265,000 — will enter a community looking to ramp up its economic development.

City leaders adopted an economic development strategy and action plan in 2016, with goals of building and maintaining a healthy, balanced economy with a diversity of businesses; strengthening and expanding existing local businesses; fostering local entrepreneurship and new business formation; building a vibrant downtown and retail sector; and positioning the city to attract a high quality labor force.

At least part of those hopes hinge on the development of a 373-acre site in the city’s northwest corner, envisioned as one day featuring nearly 8,300 new high-end jobs.

Other planned economic development ventures include launching a farm-to-fork agriculture program, opening a business development center at the community center and pursuing a healthcare campus.

“Finding a city manager to fill Gus Vina’s shoes is going to be difficult,” said Councilmember Karen Rarey. “But I believe, for the financial health of the city, we need to find a city manager who has a strong finance background, as well as someone who is versed in economic development.”

Other identified challenges awaiting the winner include the launch of district elections in 2020, establishing and maintaining appropriate levels of regional emergency services and hashing infrastructure, regional roadway partnerships and labor agreements.

The candidate field is expected to be narrowed down next week, with finalist interviews occurring over two days in mid-December.

To view the city manager recruitment brochure, visit www.bit.ly/2rz2oFm.

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