Two Blaine city manager finalists to meet public May 23

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 21, 2013 

BLAINE - The two finalists for the city manager post will be in Blaine on Thursday, May 23, to meet the City Council, staff and the public.

The new city manager would replace Gary Tomsic, who is retiring at the end of June after 13 years leading Blaine.

His annual salary is $108,000.

The finalists are Dave Wilbrecht, former town manager for Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and Mike Pence, county administrator for Flathead County in Montana.

They will be at a public reception 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Blaine City Hall, 435 Martin St., Suite 4000.

The City Council could hire a new city manager by Friday at the earliest, or Tuesday, said Kara Turner, who was hired to conduct the candidate search.

The city received 45 applications, from which 10 semi-finalists were selected and interviewed via Skype in April.

The City Council picked four finalists, according to Turner, but two have withdrawn.

Pence and Wilbrecht also were finalists for the San Juan County manager position, although its County Council selected Mike Thomas, Enumclaw's city administrator, for that job.

Blaine has about 60 employees and an annual budget of roughly $30 million.

Pence has been Flathead's county administrator for eight years.

He has more than 32 years of city and county management experience, including 10 years for Ocean Shores in Washington state.

Pence said he and his family also have spent time vacationing in Blaine.

"We like the community," Pence said, adding that he was "excited to be there later this week and see if it would be a good fit."

Wilbrecht was most recently town manager for Mammoth Lakes but resigned that position in February.

He also has served as county administrative officer for Mono County, Calif., for eight years, and has 18 years of local government experience in Washington, including in Federal Way and Redmond.

He couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, May 21.

The two finalists will tour Blaine, meet the city's management team and employees, as well as members of the community.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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