The candidates are Jeffrey A. Pederson, city manager of Vermillion, S.D.; Ron J. Singel, city manager of Old Town, Maine; and Lewis J. Steinbrecher, city manager of Albion, Mich.
Kent City Council will host a public reception from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The candidates will tour city offices with Interim City Manager William Lillich on Friday afternoon, and return for interviews between 5 and 10 p.m.
Council voted Wednesday to hold the interviews in executive session.
On Wednesday, council members were presented with a packet of information on the candidates.
The packet also included information on Pederson and Steinbrecher, which was obtained in background checks by Thomas Dority of the Mercer Group, the city's search firm.
Singel, who earned his master's degree at Kent State University, was a last-minute addition who was invited to interview after another candidate, a city manager of a town in the Midwest, dropped out of the running.
Singel was among three candidates who were initially listed among the top six candidates but didn't make the first cut. Dority said he would provide background information before council holds interviews.
Robert Felton, chairman of council's committee of the whole, said when the candidate dropped out, he asked Dority to invite the candidate with the most experience to interview.
Pederson has been city manager of Vermillion, home of the University of South Dakota since 1989, and previously worked as city administrator of a town in Iowa. His current salary is $62,000.
His experience includes expanding and developing an industrial park and attracting two major new employers. He also was involved with the construction of a new municipal golf course which includes a housing development.
Singel worked as an administrative analyst in Akron while studying for his master's degree and went on to work as an assistant city manager in Alma, Mich., then as village administrator of New Lebanon before taking the job with Old Town in 1994. His salary there is $52,000.
Old Town houses most of the off-campus students and faculty from the University of Maine, located in nearby Orono.
He is currently working to redevelop the city's downtown and with the EPA to clean up a brownfield site on the riverfront. He is seeking to move to Ohio to be near his family.
Steinbrecher has been city manager of Albion, home of private Albion College, for three years. His current salary is $62,750.
Albion's mayor credited Steinbrecher with pulling together a staff that had been disorganized and discouraged; replacing the police chief and finance director; improving the budget process; and obtaining a new water source for the city.
In New London, Wisc., where he was city administrator for six years, he
helped establish a new downtown development plan including parking,
replacing buildings and accenting the riverfront.