Louisville's nationwide search for a new city manager has come full circle: Officials today announced that Heather Balser, a 20-year veteran of Louisville's city staff, including stints as deputy and interim city manager, will be appointed to the city manager position on a permanent basis.
The decision comes nearly eight months after Malcolm Fleming announced suddenly in April that he would step down from the city manager post after nearly a decade.
"It is my great pleasure to announce that the Mayor and Council unanimously have selected Heather Balser as our first choice for City Manager," Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the next step for the city will be to negotiate an employment agreement for Balser before it's brought to City Council. "Five candidates were interviewed this week and Heather rose to the top of this pool — she earned this position."
Apart from Balser, those final candidates included Broomfield Community Development Director David Shinneman, Matthew Fulton, a former city manager of West St. Paul, Minn.; David Niemeyer, the village manager for Village of Tinley Park, Ill.; and Keith Riesberg, the city manager of Rio Rancho, N.M. They were culled from 180 total applicants, officials said.
Balser has worked in the Louisville City Manager's Office since 1997, where she served as a management assistant, assistant to the city administrator, assistant city manager for government relations, assistant city manager, deputy city manager and interim city manager on two separate occasions.
She has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Bates College and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
At the time of his exit, Fleming's annual salary was roughly $176,000. It's unknown if the city will offer a similar figure to Balser as it moves forward with negotiations.