Chehalis city manager candidates undergo final interviews

No candidate chosen by city council as of Monday afternoon


The final two remaining candidates vying to become the new Chehalis city manager met community members during a meet-and-greet event at the Virgil R. Lee community building on Thursday, April 4.

The pair made their final pitches to the Chehalis City Council on Friday morning before the council entered into executive session to discuss the candidates’ interviews and qualifications.

Now, they await the council’s decision, which could come at the Chehalis City Council meeting scheduled after The Chronicle’s Monday print deadline at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 8.

While three finalists were initially selected, only Peter Boyce and Stacy Denham remain, as Jeffrey Wilson withdrew his application after accepting work in another city, according to Steve Worthington, of Prothman Consulting, which is assisting the city in its city manager search.

Boyce has nearly 25 years of experience in local governments and was most recently the Woodland city administrator, a position he’s had for the last seven years.

He has also been the Wabasha County administrator in Minnesota. He first started civic service in Anaconda and Deer Lodge, Montana, where he worked as a clerk and recorder. Boyce told those in attendance on Thursday he was looking forward to working in Chehalis.

“Woodland is similar in size, but Chehalis has a lot of amenities that Woodland does not have, and it’s really an exciting prospect,” Boyce said.

Boyce has a bachelor's degree in technology and business development from Montana Technological University.

Denham has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and is currently the Centralia police chief. He was a member of the Chehalis Police Department from 1994 to 2006 prior to joining the Centralia Police Department in 2006 where he progressed through the ranks until he became chief.

“During that time (as chief), I actually went back to college and got my bachelor’s, and went to the (FBI) National Academy, went to about every leadership school you could possibly go to,” Denham said. “But in doing that, that’s where I found the love for moving onto public administration.”

Denham has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and public administration from Liberty University and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Centralia College.

Though both Denham and Boyce have now conducted their final interviews, the council could decide to choose neither and restart the candidate application process, an option that was discussed on Wednesday, April 3, during a special meeting after it was announced Wilson had withdrawn his application.

The pros and cons of restarting the process were discussed, and ultimately the council decided to continue moving forward with Denham’s and Boyce’s applications as many other regional municipalities, including Centralia, are now also beginning searches for new city managers.

This means if they were to restart now, the candidate application pool could end up small, and they could lose applicants to other cities if they don’t make a decision quick enough. However, restarting the city manager candidate search is still an option.