A month after firing longtime City Manager Russell Allen, the Raleigh City Council might be having trouble agreeing on a short-term successor to lead City Hall after Allen leaves on June 30.
With the search for a permanent replacement expected to take up to six months, Raleigh leaders must appoint an interim manager this month. In the past week, the council has spent hours in two closed-door meetings to discuss the appointment.
Councilman Randy Stagner said last week that he'd like to see an interim appointed this week, but Tuesday's closed session ended with Mayor Nancy McFarlane announcing "no decision was made," and no more meetings are scheduled until next Tuesday. Stagner says it's important to have a transition period where the interim learns the ropes from Allen.
Last week, the council got a presentation from two UNC School of Government professors who explained the pros and cons of interim manager choices. The council, they said, could hire an interim from outside the city -- a retired city manager, for example. Or they could promote from within city hall.
Should they pick the latter option, a few possibilities come to mind (though no candidates have been named by the council). City Hall's second-in-command is Dan Howe, the assistant city manager. There's also veteran City Attorney Tom McCormick, who applied for the manager post when Allen was hired 12 years ago. He left the room during Tuesday's closed session.
But during the meeting with the government professors, city council members worried that an interim might have trouble returning to their old job after six months in charge. With that concern in mind, they might consider former assistant city manager Julian Prosser, who retired last year after 32 years with the city. He was recently brought back as a part-time sustainability consultant.
All that, of course, is just speculation on my part. We'll know for sure once the council reaches a consensus; they'll have to take an official vote on the hire in open session.