JOHN MCDONOUGH. Photo by City of Sandy Springs.

Along with naming three finalists for its city manager position last night, Greenville City Council members also decided on their first choice — John McDonough, the city manager of Sandy Springs, Georgia.

City council approved entering into negotiations with McDonough — pronounced mac-DAWN-uh — after completing its second search for a city manager in the year since former city manager John Castile announced he was leaving the post.

The city initially named three finalists in October after using Springsted|Waters, a national search firm, before council members decided to start the search over.

Mayor Knox White said this time around was different — the city used Greenville-based recruiting firm Find Great People to come up with 10 finalists before narrowing them down to six and then three.

“Their job was to knock on doors and find people who weren’t looking for a job and tell them why they should come to Greenville, South Carolina,” White said. “They literally showed up on people’s doorsteps and said, ‘We want to tell you about Greenville, South Carolina.'”

McDonough, the city’s first choice, has been the city manager of Sandy Springs for the last 13 years. He oversees 500 employees and contractors as well as the city’s $463 million operating budget. Prior to Sandy Springs, he served as the city manager of Beaufort, South Carolina.

In an email, McDonough said Find Great People contacted him about the job opportunity.

“Greenville has a great reputation and has personal interest for me, as I have family who live there,” McDonough said. “I am exploring the opportunity and a decision is expected soon.”

He has a master of public affairs from Indiana University at South Bend and a bachelor of arts in political science from The Citadel.

The city plans on having a new city manager in place by August, but White said the candidate could come on earlier. If negotiations with McDonough don’t work out, White said the two other finalists are just as qualified for the job.

“All the candidates that we were looking at were just exceptional,” White said.

The other two candidates are Jeff Jones and Dan Hoffman.

Jeff Jones

Current position: Deputy city manager and chief operating officer of Mesquite, Texas.

Previous positions: Assistant city manager of Hurst, Texas, and 25 years of municipal government experience.

Education: Master of public administration in city management from Texas Tech University, a bachelor of science in political science and sociology from Black Hills State University, and a credentialed manager designation from the International City/County Management Association.

Dan Hoffman

Current position: Assistant city manager of Gainesville, Florida.

Previous positions: Chief innovation officer for Montgomery County, Maryland.

Education: Master of science in organizational and strategic human resources from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of arts in political science from George Washington University.

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