The field of candidates for Scottsdale’s city manager position has increased to six finalists.
Joseph L. Lessard, former assistant city manager of Austin, Texas, will interview for Scottsdale’s city manager position Dec. 7 and 8.
He will join two other finalists participating in the latest round of interviews: John Kross, town manager of Queen Creek, Arizona; and James V. Thompson, former city manager of Casa Grande, Arizona. They will meet with the city’s executive team and interview with City Council members during their visit.
The City Council will host a special public meeting Dec. 8 when each of these latest candidates will make a brief presentation. The meeting will be at Scottsdale City Hall (3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.) and televised/live streamed on Scottsdale Video Network.
The council previously interviewed Konrad Hildebrandt, Gary M. Luebbers and Jeffery M. Nichols. After the candidate presentations Dec. 8, the City Council may ask questions of any of the six finalists and could extend a job offer to their top choice.
The finalists who will complete their interview process Dec. 8 are:
John Kross has been town manager for Queen Creek since June 2006. He oversees the town’s 240 employees, its $184 million budget and its daily operations. He previously served as Queen Creek’s assistant town manager and community development director. He has 27 years of experience in local government with six different cities. Mr. Kross has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Ripon College, a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University and is a credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association.
Joseph L. Lessard, previous Assistant City Manager, City of Austin, Texas
Joseph L. Lessard has more than 35 years professional experience, including nine years as an assistant city manager in Austin, Texas. In that position, he had budget responsibilities of up to $537 million and oversaw 2,900 employees. He also spent time as assistant to the city manager in Dallas, Texas. He is currently a senior planning director for Knudson, LP, a firm specializing in planning, economic development, public engagement, landscape architecture and construction management. Mr. Lessard has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from Washington State University, and a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University.
James V. Thompson was city manager in Casa Grande from 2003 to 2016 where he oversaw city operations and a $175 million budget. He has 20 years’ experience as a city manager, previously holding that position in Bothell, Washington, and Bullhead City, Arizona. He has also served on the Arizona State Personnel Board since 2004 and as an adjunct professor in Arizona State University’s Department of Public Affairs since 2011. Mr. Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and a master’s degree in business administration from Regis University.
The finalists who interviewed Nov. 10 are:
Konrad Hildebrandt, Assistant City Manager, City of Odessa, Texas
Konrad Hildebrandt has been assistant city manager for Odessa since March 2014. He oversees administrative services including budget and finance, purchasing and procurement, risk management and employee health & wellness. He previously spent 10 years as city manager of Cedar Hills, Utah, and has 27 years of experience in local government with four different cities. Mr. Hildebrandt has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University. (See Mr. Hildebrandt’s interview.)
Gary M. Luebbers was city manager for Sunnyvale from 2008 to 2013 where he oversaw the city’s 1,000 employees, $300 million budget and its daily operations. He previously spent eight years as city manager for West Jordan, Utah, and has more than 20 years of experience as a city manager in three cities. Mr. Luebbers has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Culver-Stockton College and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. (See Mr. Luebbers' interview.)
Jeffery M. Nichols, City Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, City of Scottsdale, Arizona
Jeffery M. Nichols was appointed Scottsdale city treasurer in October 2013, where he oversees the accounting, budget, business services, finance and risk management departments. His previous positions include vice president and chief financial officer of the Scottsdale Cultural Council, accounting director for Scottsdale, and deputy director/controller for the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department. Mr. Nichols has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Central Michigan University, and he is a certified public accountant. (See Mr. Nichols' interview.)
Scottsdale’s city manager position has been vacant since June 2015. Scottsdale Water Director Brian K. Biesemeyer has been serving as acting city manager since then, but is not a candidate for the position fulltime.