CORNING - There is a lot of interest in the City Clerk's position, which retiring clerk Rose Blackwell has held for the past 32 years.

City Manager Mark Ryckman said the recruiting process to fill the clerk position is going very well.

“We’ve had a high degree of interest,” Ryckman said. “Some of them are traditional clerks, others have clerical backgrounds. It’s going to be quite a task kind of wading through these. I anticipate we’re going to start interviews in the next couple of weeks.”

Ryckman said it’s fair to say that the City Clerk’s position is unique among city department heads.

“In addition to working with (the city manager) and the staff, the clerk also has to take care of the City Council meeting minutes, works with the mayor on various issues and helps city committees,” Ryckman said. “It’s a really unique position and we’ve been very fortunate to have Blackwell for over 30 years.”

Ryckman said he recently approached Mayor Rich Negri about deviating from the city's normal interview protocol.

“Usually the city department heads and I conduct interviews and I nominate somebody,” Ryckman said. “But I’ve asked Negri, because the position is so unique, if he and two other councilmen of his choosing would serve on the panel for the final round of interviews.”

Ryckman said the final round of interviews will likely be between three to four candidates.

“We’ll start narrowing it down, but when we get to the final round I’ve asked the mayor if he and a couple other councilman can assist,” Ryckman said.

Negri said he will soon select two people from the council, along with himself, that will participate in the final interviews.

“Can we put in a resolution to prevent (Rose) from retiring?” Negri jokingly asked.

Ryckman said he is hopeful city leaders will be able to identify a candidate that can work well with all city department officials and residents.

“I think it’s only right we deviate to have some council participation and try to find a candidate that we can all agree on,” Ryckman said. “I want to thank Rose (Blackwell) who so graciously agreed to set her retirement date in mid-January instead of the end of December.”

Ryckman said Blackwell's decision gives the city a little more breathing room in selecting a replacement candidate.

“That extra two or three weeks means a lot in the process,” Ryckman said.