Newark is doing second interviews in anticipating of soon hiring a city planner.

Newark is doing second interviews in anticipating of soon hiring a city planner.

"We're at the near end of the process," said Stephen Fowler, Newark's economic-development director.

Fowler said the city received 30 to 40 applications for the position and interviewed eight candidates in the first round. As of last week, Fowler was trying to finalize second interviews.

The city requested that applicants have a four-year degree in planning, with experience in project management.

The city looks to contract with the person for one year, requiring him or her to work with Fowler, the city's public-service director and city engineer, to "enhance the Newark's economic-de-velopment and infrastructure-planning efforts."

Fowler worked with Newark City Council to outline the following goals as part of the contract:

Work on a Clean Ohio brownfield project.

Work on one Ohio Job Ready Sites project.

Work on one retention-and-expansion project that creates jobs and an investment in the community.

Support or collaborate on one downtown development project.

Update the city's Destiny 20/20 comprehensive plan.

Coordinate issues of the city's planning commission, city council and board of zoning appeals.

Help Newark's efforts to secure federal funding from the 2009 federal stimulus plan.

Fowler and his assistant have been interviewing candidates. He said that if he could schedule second interviews this week, he might invite a few community members to sit in on the interviews.

Fowler said he was pleased with the candidates who had applied for the position.

"We had a very good pool of candidates. That's part of the challenge of picking the best candidate you do have," he said.

Former Mayor Bruce Bain has suggested adding the position of planner to the city. Under Mayor Bob Diebold, the city reorganized the service department, saving money that has been earmarked for the planner's contract.