The city of Charlotte will have a new manager by early March, according to a schedule approved by City Council on Monday night.
City Manager Curt Walton is retiring Dec. 21 after holding the citys top job since 2007. Council members have said they want to do a national search, and voted unanimously Monday to hire The Waters Consulting Group to assist in the search.
The consultant will be paid $23,000 plus up to $5,000 in expenses.
Walton and his predecessor, Pam Syfert, were both internal hires when they became manager.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said he will consider internal candidates. But he also wants it known that the city is serious about a nationwide search.
Folks might not believe we are really interested (in a nationwide search), Foxx said. We want to make it absolutely clear that we want to look at external candidates.
The city will be led by an interim manager for at least two months. Council members discussed in closed session Monday afternoon whether the interim manager can also apply for the job permanently. They decided in an unanimous vote that the interim cant be a candidate for the post.
Under the timeline approved Monday, the search firm will begin advertising for the job Dec. 18. The application period will close Jan. 18, and a list of finalists will be given council members Jan. 28.
A final decision is scheduled for a Feb. 25 closed session meeting. The city hopes to introduce the new manager March 6.
In other action Monday, council members approved awarding a $26.3 million contract to Balfour Beatty Rail Inc. and Blythe Development Co. for an uptown streetcar line.
The city plans to build a 1.5-mile starter streetcar line from Time Warner Cable Arena to Presbyterian Hospital, with construction starting in early 2013.
The city has budgeted $37 million for the project. About $14 million will be set aside for design, property acquisition, vehicle upfits, street lights and public art.
The streetcar is scheduled to open in 2015.
Council members approved the contract by a 9-2 vote, with Republicans Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey voting no. They are opposed to the streetcar.