The same search firm that brought Sarah Phillips to Johnstown as village manager about six years ago is leading the effort to find her replacement.

The same search firm that brought Sarah Phillips to Johnstown as village manager about six years ago is leading the effort to find her replacement.

Doug Plunkett, of Granville's Circuit Rider Management Group, said the deadline for candidates to apply for the position was Friday, Dec. 26.

The Johnstown village manager job was advertised nationally, and Plunkett said he "reaches out" among credible candidates.

At the end of the business day on Monday, 48 applicants had applied for the position including three attorneys, two former Ohio mayors, one utility director, three municipal finance specialists, four planners and two consulting engineers.

Plunkett said the pool of candidates also includes 14 current or former Ohio city/village managers or administrators; 10 current/former managers in other states; and several prospects from other states in county and private industry occupations.

In addition to Ohio, the states represented by the applicants include Florida, West Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, New York, Tennessee, California, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas. The prospects include 42 men and six women.

Plunkett expected another five to 10 candidates by Friday, after The Independent's press deadline.

A list of all the applicants will be given to the Johnstown Village Council, Plunkett said.

"I'll narrow it down to the most qualified," he said. "They narrow the focus to probably 12 to begin the selection process. We'll interview in groups of three to narrow the focus further. That's how we came upon Sarah."

Plunkett plans to talk to council about narrowing the field of prospects during the first week in January, with interviews tentatively expected in mid to late January.

Advertising for the position noted that there have been two managers since the village's charter adoption in 1998. The current manager salary was listed at $95,000.

The position was advertised, seeking an "accomplished, knowledgeable government manager with a strong combination of education and experience including demonstrated success in municipal administration, finance, growth management, utilities and local government public relations."

Acting village manager Randy Ashbrook said he hopes the process is faster than the last time, when he was interim village manager for 18 months.

Phillips left Johnstown on Dec. 12 to become the city manager of Rolling Meadows, Ill., a community of about 25,000 people about 25 miles from Chicago and adjacent to O'Hare International Airport.

She told The Independent the new position would provide her with more opportunities in continuing to fulfill her career goals in local government.

Phillips has 18 years of professional local government executive experience. Prior to her appointment in 2003 as village manager of Johnstown, she served as the public works director in Paducah, Ky. She also helped develop and implement the first Biosolids Composting Facility in Paducah.