Update: On Saturday morning finalist Cameron Clapper said by phone that he had decided against continuing to seek a position as the city manager of Fort Atkinson, according to Public Administration Associates LLC President Kevin Brunner, who was hired by the city to help with the search and recruitment process. 
 
Four finalists, each hoping to fill the position of Fort Atkinson city manager, met Friday evening with an 8-member community panel at the Fort Atkinson Club Community Center, 211 S. Water St.
 
The two-hour session was organized to offer the finalists and city council members an opportunity to meet one another in advance of formal interviews, which were scheduled to take place Saturday during a special closed session council meeting. 
 
Also in attendance were plan commission member and former city councilman Davin Lescohier, Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carrie Chisholm and Sue Hartwick, administrator of the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation. The session was facilitated by Public Administration Associates LLC President Kevin Brunner, who was hired by the city to help with the search and recruitment process. 
 
During the session, each finalist met individually with the panel for a half an hour. 
 
During her segment, finalist Rebecca Houseman LeMire, who is currently the city administrator, clerk and treasurer in Darien, said she is married, the mother of three young children, and a resident of Janesville. She described herself as someone who enjoys outdoor activities including cycling, exercising, and attending community events and farmers markets. 
 
While Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper described Whitewater as his home, he said he was a frequent visiter to Fort Atkinson and often thought he would like to live and work in the city. While Whitewater and Fort Atkinson are of similar sizes, Clapper noted that about half of Whitewater’s population is comprised of students who stay in the city between Monday and Thursday, and are gone for three months out of the year. He saw Fort Atkinson as more of a “full-time community,” he said. 
 
Kronenwetter Village Administrator Richard Downey arrived with his wife, Roberta. He shared what he said was a little known fact about Kronenwetter: by land mass, it is one of the largest municipalities in the state. The community includes areas that are both residential and rural, he said.
 
Arriving at the podium, Belleville Village Administrator Brian Wilson said: “I’m sorry if you were expecting the Beach Boys.” He said there were three things to know about him: “I have a sense of humor … I’m good at giving credit where credit’s due  … I am a person who can deliver and achieve results.” 
 
During each segment, finalists were encouraged to ask questions about Fort Atkinson, and panel members asked questions of the finalists. Topics ranged from housing and economic development strategies, perceived role as manager and communication styles, and perceived community assets and challenges, among others.  
 
Photos from Friday’s event follow. 
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