CRESTVIEW — Applications for the Crestview city manager position have been received. Council members will soon begin the interviewing process.

Crestview Mayor David Cadle said the first session of interviews will be used to narrow the field of applicants down to five. The council will meet 5-8 p.m. Jan. 24 in council chambers to conduct the interviews via Skype. After the first round is done, the interviews will be released on the city's website.

When asked if any are from Northwest Florida, he said one candidate is from Okaloosa County; one of the candidates on everybody's list is from West Virginia, where Cadle is from.

A last round of interviews to determine the city manager is scheduled 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 4 in council chambers. Those interviews will also be conducted on Skype, and the public may attend.

The city manager position is already part of the city's budget, with $300,000 set aside for the post. The money would have gone back into the city's general fund if voters didn't pass a referendum changing the city's form of government.

On Aug. 28, voters approved amendments to repeal the city charter and update it with comprehensive language; change from a council-manager form of government instead of a council-mayor form; and, by a slim margin of 1.28 percent, change the city clerk position from an elected one to one that the council appoints.

With the change to a council-manager form of government, the day-to-day operations of the city would be one person's responsibility instead of five, with city department heads answering to the manager. According to statements in a previous CNB interview with Fort Walton Beach City Manager Michael Beedie, (https://bit.ly/2swVM7L), this would free up the city's mayor and council to focus on representing their citizens. 

Incidentally, 2017-18 wasn't the first time people considered changing the city's form of government. The council and Crestview residents were discussing the issue as far back as 1998. At that point, residents had already voted down two council-requested amendments to hire a city administrator. One letter to the editor described it as an attempt by council members to avoid doing their jobs.

Based on statements by Cadle in 2011, residents were concerned about consolidating power in the city council and having an administrator who doesn't answer to the voters ((https://bit.ly/2W4CbJx).