PORT TOWNSEND — The city of Port Townsend is one step closer to having a new city manager.
John Mauro, the Port Townsend City Council’s preferred candidate following a months-long process, has returned a signed offer letter to lead the city, Mayor Deborah Stinson said Monday night.
“His whole family is excited for the opportunity,” Stinson said during the council’s special business meeting. “He can hardly wait to get here and start working with us.”
Mauro, originally from Maine, currently works as a chief sustainability officer in Auckland, New Zealand. He also worked in the Pacific Northwest as the director for policy, planning and government affairs for the Cascade Bicycle Club and as a policy analyst for the mayor’s office in Seattle.
“I have deep roots in the region, and my wife, young daughter and I are eager to return to the places and people we’ve missed the last few years,” Mauro wrote Tuesday via email. “I could never have anticipated the warm welcome I’ve been receiving even before arriving or signing an official contract.”
Council members did not discuss a timeline for Mauro to start, although they held a closed session Monday in order to adopt a strategy or position for professional negotiations.
“The next step is finalizing a contract,” which will come back to the council for approval, said interim City Manager Nora Mitchell, who has led the city’s finance and administrative services department.
“It will take a little time for him to get here, but once he’s here, he’s going to be fully ready to be engaged,” Stinson said.
Mauro was one of four finalists to go through an extensive interview process, which started last November with public meetings to gather input on the type of candidate the city should pursue. Once those characteristics were identified, the council hired consultant Peckham & McKenney to conduct an executive search.
All four finalists went through several rounds of interviews with separate groups last month. The groups included council members, city department heads and a peer group of community leaders and CEOs.
The finalists also took part in a public meet-and-greet event at the Port Townsend Community Center on June 18. Mauro was named the city’s preferred candidate during a special meeting the following night.
“Positive, honest and inspiring conversations with council members, staff, community task force and community members have made it truly compelling,” Mauro wrote.
“I had so much fun interacting with community members at the candidate event — I was actually the last one to leave! The commitment, capability and care shown by the community in this selection is undoubtedly an irresistible draw to the community — and it will be an invaluable asset as we work together on some of [Port Townsend’s] big challenges.”
Now that Mauro has accepted, the city will initiate a more thorough background check, including criminal and financial history, Mitchell said.
Mauro, originally from Auburn, Maine, also was a finalist for town manager in Windham, Maine, less than 30 miles south of his hometown. He has a bachelor of arts degree in environmental studies and conservation biology from Middlebury College in Vermont.
“I appreciate everyone’s patience working through the process, but I think it definitely has paid off,” Stinson said.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].