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Longview is close to hiring its new city finance director, nearly one year after Kurt Sacha vacated the seat to become the city manager.

Sacha said Wednesday that the city has winnowed the list of candidates to two and is doing further “backgrounding” on them. The city has not made job offers to those candidates, he said.

Once the finance director is hired, the city will turn to recruiting an assistant city manager. The search will likely begin after the new year, Sacha said. He has performed all three roles since February of this year.

The process has taken longer than expected primarily because it is hard to recruit applicants during the summer, when people often take vacations, Sacha said. The city posted the finance director position in late September.

The City of Longview also has a third leadership position to fill: fire chief. Jim Kambeitz has been interim chief since August, when Phil Jurmu stepped down to become the director of Cowlitz County’s new 911 emergency communications agency. Kambeitz started with the fire service in 1987.

Sacha said the city isn’t looking at other applicants for the position.

“(Kambeitz) is trying the position out and we’re still trying to see if maybe it’s a good fit,” Sacha said.

He said Kambeitz is doing a good job so far, and he hopes to reach a decision by early next year.

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