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Two candidates remain in Springfield city manager search

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The Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen interviewed three semi-finalists on Thursday, Aug. 10 in the search for a new city manager. CHERI REEVES

James (Jay) Johnson of Shelbyville, Tenn. and Joshua Ray of Aztec, N.M. are the two finalists selected by the Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen in their search for a new city manager.

Three candidates for Springfield City Manager appeared, via Skype, for interviews before the city's board on Thursday evening, Aug. 10.

In addition to Ray and Johnson, the city interviewed Hellyn Riggins of Berlin, Conn.

A fourth semi-finalist, Thomas Johnson, of Nobles County, Minn., withdrew his name earlier in the day on Thursday, according to Gary Jaeckel, the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) management consultant who is assisting in the city manager search.

The semi-finalist list of seven had narrowed to four at the beginning of the week, following withdrawals from Phillip Hill, assistant city manager, Midvale City, Utah, David Johnston, former city manager, Maple Valley, Wash. and Springfield's Interim City Manager Gina Holt.

In a series of 13 questions, ranging from work history to leadership style and vision for Springfield, each candidate answered the same questions asked of them from Jaeckel.

After the interviews ended at 9:15 p.m., the board decided to proceed with choosing two finalists.

In the vote of the top two candidates, the board gave seven votes to Ray, five to Johnson and Riggins received two votes.

Mayor Ann Schneider, Aldermen Clay Sneed, James Hubbard, Jeff Gragg and Tim Harris all chose Johnson and Ray as their top two finalists.

Aldermen Bruce Head and Bobby Trotter chose Ray and Riggins.

The board agreed to invite Johnson and Ray to Springfield on Wed., Aug. 23 and Thursday, Aug. 24 to speak with the mayor and aldermen in person and to tour the city.

James (Jay) Johnson

James (Jay) Johnson, of Shelbyville, Tenn., holds a B.A. from Southern Illinois University from the Dept. of Political Science.

In Illinois, Johnson served in internships before becoming the administrative assistant to the city manager in Largo, Fla., where he served two years in the late 1970s.

From there, Johnson became the city manager of Mount Pleasant, Tenn., where he served from 1979 to 1981.

He was the chief administrative office in Collierville, Tenn. for seven years; the city manager for Ponca City, Ok. for five years; the city administrator of Franklin, Tenn. from 1993 to 2008; the city manager of Toccoa, Ga. for eight months in 2010.

Johnson was the city manager for Shelbyville, Tenn. from 2011 until April of 2017.

Joshua W. Ray

Joshua Ray, of Aztec, N.M., is the city manager for Aztec, where he has served in that role for seven years.

Ray holds a Master of Public Affairs from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. and a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina.

From 2004 to 2007, Ray was a management consultant in both the town of Candor, N.C. and the Town of Robbins, N.C.

He became the town manager of Biscoe, N.C. in 2003. In 2007, Ray was named city manager of Whiteville, N.C., where he served two years.

In 2010, Ray became the city manager of Aztec, N.M., where he now serves.

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