Five finalists for the position of director of planning and code administration for the city of Gaithersburg were scheduled to participate in an all-day interview session and a public meet and greet opportunity May 15.
More than 60 applicants from across the country submitted resumes for the position. Resumes were screened by a recruitment consultant and an internal committee, and video conference interviews were then conducted with 10 candidates. From that pool, the finalists were selected.
The finalists are: Darryn Burich of Appleton, Wisc.; Charles Graves of Cincinnati, Ohio; Margaret Pearson of Gastonia, N.C.; John Schlichting of Gaithersburg, Md.; and Eric Soter of Emmitsburg, Md.
Schlichting and Soter both have previous experience with the city. Schlichting, a long-time Kentlands resident, recently retired from his position as executive development officer at The JBG Companies, a Maryland-based real estate development firm. He served as a Gaithersburg City Council member from 2001 to 2007 and has served on several city committees, including the Gaithersburg Planning Commission from 1995 – 2001. He held the position of committee chair from 2000 – 2001. Soter was the senior planner/urban design director for the city from August 1999 through March 2002. He is currently the community development director for the Frederick County Government.
Currently, Burich works as the planning director for the city of Oshkosh, Wisc. Graves is the director of the Department of City Planning and Buildings for the city of Cincinnati. Pearson is the planning and neighborhood development director for the city of Concord, N.C.
During the day on May 15 the candidates were scheduled to be interviewed by four panels, two comprised of representatives from the community and members of city boards, commissions, and committees, one made up of staff members from the Department of Planning & Code Administration, and one comprised of the city’s Senior Leadership Team.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the public was invited to meet the candidates at a reception held at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park. The candidates were scheduled to make brief statements to the audience before answering individual questions. The public was encouraged to give feedback on the candidates using comment cards provided.
According to Gaithersburg Human Resources Director Margaret Daily, the city hopes to make a decision about the position by the end of May, although no name will be released until a thorough background check is completed.