Council looks at city manager, amphitheater

By on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News Columbia Basin Top Stories

WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla City Council meets today (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. for its regular meeting and has a full agenda including possibly appointing a new city manager. The council could also authorize a contract for operation of the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater.

Following the retirement of City Manager Nabiel Shawa in October, the city contracted with Strategic Government Resources to conduct a nationwide search for a new city manager. Council members were provided with the eight semifinalists’ 10 written interview questions and online interviews for review. The Council scheduled a meeting for November 18 with the goal of selecting up to four to five finalists for the onsite interview process.

On November 18, the council met to evaluate the eight semifinalists. The council reviewed the qualifications of the candidates in executive session, considering the additional materials provided, and reconvened in public session to select finalists.  Council members were unanimous in their decision that candidate number four exceeded the qualifications of the other seven candidates. The council unanimously voted to discontinue the recruitment process and enter contract negotiations with candidate number four pending background checks.

Tonight, council members will meet in executive session to further discuss and evaluate the qualifications of candidate number four for public employment. The council will then reconvene in open session for possible city manager appointment and contract approval.

Also on the agenda, the council will consider authorizing a contract with Walla Walla Summer Theater Group for operation of the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater. The Walla Walla Summer Theater Group was the only group to respond to the city’s request for proposals this past January.

In April, the group presented to the Parks, Recreation and Urban Forestry Advisory Board. The board voted unanimously to recommend the city enter a lease with the Walla Walla Summer Theater Group. Contracts longer than one year require city council approval.

Other items on the active agenda include adopting an ordinance on the six-year (2023-2028) capital facilities plan, plus having a public hearing, and adopting the ordinance on the 2023-2024 biennial budget.