BAKER CITY — Baker City has trimmed the list of city manager candidates from three to two.

City councilors decided during a special meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 17, to eliminate Scott McClure of Monmouth from contention to replace Fred Warner Jr., who is retiring at the end of the year.

Councilors voted to have Mayor Loran Joseph negotiate with the two remaining candidates — Jonathan Cannon of Saluda, North Carolina, and Steve Ashworth of Alpine, Wyoming.

Joseph said councilors rated one of the two higher, but they were “so close” the council would be comfortable offering the job to either. He said he will try to reach a tentative contract agreement with the candidate who has an edge and present that to the council for its approval.

If that is unsuccessful, Joseph said he would negotiate with the other candidate. He declined to identify the frontrunner.

The council’s goal is to approve an employment contract with the new manager at its Dec. 8 meeting, but Joseph said he hopes to reach a preliminary agreement before then and to announce that publicly.

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