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Speculation runs rampant on city manager choice

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CIA? FBI? Maybe the lesser-known National Security Agency?

It’s a mystery whom the Watertown City Council has chosen for city manager, but that hasn’t stopped City Hall employees from speculating.

Their speculation was fueled by comments by Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith, who indicated that the woman does not come from “traditional governmental experience.” It was fueled further by sources who have said that the unidentified woman worked for the federal government and has some level of federal security clearance.

“We joked that she’s CIA,” said Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator.

On Wednesday, some city officials said the successful candidate has worked for the National Security Agency, but they would not say where they got that information or whether it was confirmed.

A part of the Department of Defense, the NSA collects and analyzes intelligence and foreign communications, and then disseminates the information to high-level government leaders, the military, governmental agencies and select allies. Employing America’s code makers and code breakers, the NSA relies on the highest levels of confidentiality.

And council members apparently are relying on that, too.

On Thursday, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham declined to comment on the negotiations occurring between interim City Manager John C. Krol and the candidate who council members want to make the next city manager.

Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith also did not want to comment. The other three council members and Mr. Krol did not return a reporter’s phone calls.

In a press release on Tuesday, Mr. Graham announced that council members have offered the job to an unidentified candidate.

That day, Mr. Smith said the entire community will be impressed with the woman’s credentials.

“I think she’s a completely out-of-the-box candidate,” Mr. Smith said. “I think we hit a grand slam home run. She has excellent governmental credentials, but it’s not traditional government experience.”

She will replace former City Manager Mary M. Corriveau, who left in April after a divided council did not renew her contract.

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