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Bozeman outlines next steps in search for city manager

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BOZEMAN, Mont. - In his 10 years as executive director of the Downtown Bozeman Partnership Chris Naumann has worked with only one city manager.

"The city manager has always been a champion of downtown as a really important part of the community," said Naumann.

The ousting of 13-year City Manager Chris Kukulski means Naumann will now have to adjust to someone new. He says a supportive city manager is critical to downtown.

"We coordinate with the city departments to keep downtown clean and safe, the parks department for Soroptimist Park and streets department for road closures for events," he explained.

City leaders are saying little about the reasoning for Kukulski's departure.

"The city is endeavoring to be the best city that it can, and we think going in a different direction will make that work better," said Mayor Carson Taylor at a press conference announcing the move Tuesday afternoon.

Like the city, Naumann is moving forward. He's optimistic about the upcoming process.

"The next city manager will hopefully have experience with a dynamic, high-growth city similar to Bozeman. That could be a smaller community or a larger community," he said.

On Monday commissioners will take up conversations about the hiring process. Appointing an interim city manager is the first step. Next, the commission will develop a timeline for replacing Kukulski. They will also vote on Kukulski's severance package.

Naumann is looking forward to the pool of potential replacements.

"I think Bozeman, being the wonderful town that it is, will attract quite a few high quality candidates," said Naumann.

Like city residents he'll wait for the end of what could be a lengthy process.

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