The Rio Rancho Governing Body has 27 viable city manager applications, including two from the City of Vision, to consider.

The deadline for the second round of applications was Jan. 18. The city received a total of 30, but three didn’t meet minimum qualifications.

A majority of the governing body forced former city manager James Jimenez to retire last summer. City Attorney James Babin has served as acting city manager since then.

The governing body considered a first round of candidates late last year, but wasn’t able to pick three to recommend to the mayor for appointment, as the city charter requires.

Of the 30 candidates in this second round, seven applied last time as well, including Charles Montoya and Dennis Stark, who were finalists, and City of Rio Rancho Planning Manager John Korkosz.

Robert Gallagher of Rio Rancho, a consultant with city manager and other administrative experience in Hobbs from 1977-94, is the other local candidate.

One candidate lives in Albuquerque, but doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications. Three others have past experience working in New Mexico.

City spokesman Peter Wells said each governing body member has until Feb. 6 to rank his or her top-eight candidates and submit them to the Human Resources Department. Based on those rankings, several candidates will be invited to a first round of interviews, most likely via phone or Internet conference.

Afterward, Wells said, the field will be narrowed and in-person interviews will take place.

According to the city charter, city councilors must recommend three to five names to the mayor. The mayor will choose one person to appoint, and the councilors must vote on whether to approve the appointment.

If the councilors vote down the appointment, the mayor selects another name from the top candidates. If councilors fail to approve any of the top candidates, the search process starts over.

The minimum qualifications for the city manager position are a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, public administration or a related field, with strong preference of a master’s degree in public administration or a related field, and 10 years of progressively responsible municipal experience, with at least five years in a supervisory capacity. Experience leading a community of a similar size is highly desirable, the job notice states.

Compensation is based on qualifictions, and could be $150,000 per year or more. A city news release said the position would be advertised locally, through regional municipal leagues, nationally through the International City/County Management Association and on the city website.

To date, the city has spent about $4,660 on the city manager search, including advertising, reimbursing travel expenses for the three previous finalists who submitted requests for it and food at working lunches during interviews and the community forum, Wells said.