Newton works to fill city clerk post

After receiving almost 140 applications for Newton's vacant city clerk position, the city's manager is paring down the applicant pool in hopes of making a hire next month.

The city clerk position is among a few job openings the city is currently advertising.

Since outgoing City Clerk Bootsie Roberts retired in late December, Newton officials have received applications from 139 people hoping to fill the position, said City Manager Todd Clark. Most of the applicants live in Catawba County, but Newton has also received applications from residents in Burke, Caldwell, Alexander and Iredell counties. A lot of the applicants, he said, have been laid off from previous positions.

"There is a huge array of skill sets," Clark said of the applicants.

"From people who have held executive positions, to people just out of high school."

As he reviews each application, Clark said he is considering candidates with varying work histories, including individuals with experience in government settings and those with office management experience, as well. While not required, Clark said he also seeks candidates with experience in "accounts receivables, accounts payables and some office finance experience."

Pay range for the positions starts at $39,000 per year, he said.

"I narrowed (the candidates list) down to about 45, and then went back on Monday and narrowed it down to nine," he said adding he plans to interview all nine finalists beginning next week. "The final list does have people with higher education — master's degrees or college degrees — but it also has some candidates who don't have degrees of higher education."

Clark said he aims to narrow the list of finalists down to four or five, and then down to two or three. That process will likely include computer proficiency tests and other assessments of candidates' abilities.

"Whoever the final candidates are, there will have to be a background check, too," Clark said, adding that if the final candidate has to give a two- or three-week notice, "it might be around the first of March or the middle of March before we have somebody."

In addition to the city clerk position, Newton is currently seeking to fill four other vacant positions, including utility maintenance worker, wastewater treatment plant operator, telecommunicator and sanitation worker. Applications for those positions will be accepted until Feb. 4.

The city is also accepting applications for firefighter and police officer positions through Feb. 11. There are no vacancies for those positions, however. Instead the city is trying to build a pool of applicants in case future vacancies occur, said Newton Public Information Officer Gary Herman.