Personnel Director Perry Buffington credited Jackson and Hinson for finding 60 possible candidates, which produced what he felt was an impressive field. He added that constant turnover is common in the city administrator profession.

"This position serves at the pleasure of elected officials," Buffington said. "Almost every city administrator across the country ... has a lot of turnover in their background because of it."

Jackson offered a similar view to Buffington, citing the fact it is unusual that he himself has been city administrator in Story City for more than two decades.

He added it's important to dig into what caused certain resignations or terminations, and evaluate everything about the candidate's past.

"A lot of it is based on what you know and what they know … some communities are very difficult to be a city manager in," Jackson said. "It’s usually just the culture of the community and the nature of the politics."

In interviews with the Globe Gazette this past week, all five finalists said they were excited about the opportunities Mason City offers and the direction the city is headed. They also explained how they would combat the challenges they face if they were selected, and why they would be the best fit for one of the largest cities in North Iowa.

Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.