MONTEREY, Calif. -

The Monterey City Council has narrowed the field of candidates for the position of City Manager to four finalists. The finalists will return for a second round of interviews on January 9.

"The Council interviewed several very well qualified candidates in closed session yesterday," said Mayor Chuck Della Sala. "We are asking four candidates, who we consider to be outstanding, to move forward in the selection process."

The finalists will be interviewed by two separate panels: the City Council and a citizen panel.

The citizen panel is comprised of five members, who were each nominated by a Councilmember. That panel includes Monterey residents Lew Bauman, Richard Ruccello, Dave Stocker, William Scannell, and Renee Franken.

Based on the recommendations of the Council and the citizen panel, the Council will select one or two top candidates and then background checks will be conducted. The Council may also decide to make a site visit to the top candidate's community.

Once the Council makes its selection for City Manager, it will initiate negotiations.

The Monterey City Manager serves as Chief Executive of a $105 million organization with more than 400 employees. The City is looking for a City Manager who is knowledgeable in the areas of tourism, education, the military, shared services, water issues and historic preservation.

The Council has set a base salary range of $200,000- 235,000 for the position.

The City of Monterey operates a Conference Center, Harbor and Marina, and works closely with the tourism industry. It also serves as a military community with the City providing maintenance services at the Presidio of Monterey for the Department of Defense, Defense Language Institute.

The City's year-round population of 30,000 residents doubles in size during the summer tourist season.

Fred Meurer, who has served as City Manager for 22 years, retires at the end of December.

The City Council has named Assistant City Manager Mike McCarthy as Interim City Manager, starting January 1st and continuing until it selects a new City Manager.