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Three candidates vie for Springfield city manager job

Springfield is looking for its next city manager, and the search has narrowed down to three candidates: John Kessel, Sam Anselm and Steve Barwick.

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 12:13 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 12:23 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Springfield is looking for its next city manager, and the search has narrowed down to three candidates: John Kessel, Sam Anselm and Steve Barwick.

On Thursday, the candidates met with the community in a meet and greet at the Springfield Justice Center.

John Kessel said he’s learned the importance of resiliency and interacting with the community after fires destroyed thousands of homes in his Sonoma County community in California. He serves as a recovery and resilience coordinator there.

“Sonoma County experienced some devastating fires in 2017,” Kessel said. “And we lost about 5,000 homes. Rebuilding and working on the resiliency efforts really led me to understand how important it is to take care of the fundamental issues in the community, whether they’re housing or community interactions.”

Kessel has more than 27 years of local government experience. He previously served as city manager of Schertz, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a master’s degree in city and regional planning. He has a bachelor’s degree in American studies and art history from Whitworth University.

Sam Anselm is also hoping to become Springfield’s next city manager. He most recently served as city manager for Joplin, Missouri.

“Very good community, very blue collar, roll up their sleeves and get work done,” Anselm said. “And I get the impression that the Springfield community is a lot like that as well.”

Anselm has more than 20 years of experience in local government. Prior to his work in Joplin, he was an assistant to the city manager of Ferguson, Missouri. He has a master’s degree in public policy administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in public administration/criminal justice from Northwest Missouri State University.

Steve Barwick is the third hopeful. He worked as city manager in Aspen, Colorado, for many years.

“I’ve got 19 years of experience being city manger in one location, where I’ve helped the community be very, very successful, and the organization,” Barwick said. “So, yes, I bring all the requisite skills and stability for the job of city manager.”

In all, he has 34 years of experience. He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in political science/sociology from University of Colorado.

Mayor Christine Lundberg and the city council will soon make their final decision on who will replace current city manager Gino Grimaldi, who is retiring at the end of the month.

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