Jeff LaGarce's last day will be March 15

Hannibal will operate without a city manager for at least two months.

Jeff LaGarce announced in late December that he would be leaving Hannibal in mid-March after serving 12 years as city manager. Hiring a new city manager could take about 60 days, Mayor James Hark said at Monday's meeting of the Hannibal Building Commission at Hannibal City Hall. While the city is without a city manager, Hark intends to help city department heads communicate with the council.

"The current city manager (LaGarce) is leaving the 15th of this month, so we will have 45 days to 60 days of us operating without a city manager. Utilizing the (city's) management team and (city) council we will get through this. … Essentially, I am going to meet with the department heads and gather whatever information is necessary and reported to the entire council every two weeks," he said.

Hark believes the temporary chain of command will function efficiently because, the city departments have experienced leaders.

The budget process has already begun with just under four months from the start of the next fiscal year. "The timing of the new city manager coming in will hit about perfect for him or her to pick that up and be able to complete the budget and get us into the next fiscal year," Hark said.

While the city prepares to operate without a city manager, The Pace Group continues its work. The council hired the consultant group Jan. 2 to market the job opening nationwide.

"The consultant has related that they believe they have a pretty good pool of candidates already starting," Hark said.

Applications from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio have been received by the consultant, Hark said. "There has been a broad net cast," Hark said.

The consultant and city council anticipate a review of all qualified applicants will begin in the next 30 days, Hark said.