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After posting its city manager position a little more than one week ago, the Marco Island City Council will have plenty of interested candidates to choose from based upon the initial responses.

A public records request by the Marco Eagle for city manager applications produced 26 responses submitted through March 4 and the candidate pool should be much larger by the March 22 deadline.

Florida City and County Management Association Senior Advisor Ken Parker, who is guiding the city through the process, had advised the City Council prior to the start of the search that applications would likely come closer to the deadline. The rationale was that applicants currently employed would be looking to avoid their names coming out prior to the selection process.

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Thus far, the candidate pool includes candidates from all of the United States and has even gone international with one of the applicants hailing from Canada.

Although the preferred qualifications include at least five years of experience as city manager, the applicant pool so far does include several candidates with experience only in county management,  private sector management or limited public sector senior-level management.

After the application deadline closes on March 22, a senior adviser team will help whittle down the list of applicants after evaluating them.

The City Council has approved a timeline in which a list of candidates will be finalized at its April 1 meeting.

It will be up to the City Council to determine which candidates are ultimately selected for interviews and an invitation to Marco Island. Giving at least a month to perform background checks, the interview sessions would not take place until at least May 15.

For the selected finalists, they will go through a three-day process, similar to what current City Manager David Harden went through, where candidates will get a tour of the city, meet with key personnel, hold individual interviews with councilors before a special city council meeting for the entire council to conduct an interview as a whole and in public.

If all goes according to plan, once the City Council selects a candidate, it hopes to approve a contract in early June with an official start date potentially by early August.

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