After two days of interviews and following an executive session this evening, the Yakima City Council has decided it wants Tony O’Rourke to become Yakima’s next city manager.

During a special meeting following this evening’s executive session, the Council voted unanimously to begin negotiations with O’Rourke on a contract.

O’Rourke was one of four finalists for the job, all of whom were interviewed for the position by the Council, City department directors, and a community member panel yesterday. Each finalist also underwent one-on-one interviews with each Council member today.

The other finalists were Paul Schmidt, who most recently served as city manager in Oak Harbor, Washington, Tom Steele, who most recently served as city manager in West Jordan, Utah, and Steve Worthington, who most recently served as city manager in Fife, Washington.

O’Rourke is currently the city manager in South Lake Tahoe, California, a position he has held since August 2010. Prior to taking the job in South Lake Tahoe, O’Rourke had been the executive director of Beaver Creek Resort Company since 1996. In his role with Beaver Creek Resort Company, O’Rourke served as the chief executive of the private corporation that operates an alpine resort which hosts an average of more than three million guests each year and generates more than $400 million in annual sales.

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1977 with a bachelor of arts political science degree, O’Rourke began his public service career in Isla Vista, California as a community development director. In 1981, O’Rourke earned a masters degree in urban and regional planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. From 1981 to 1983, he was an administrative assistant to the deputy city manager and fire chief in Dallas, Texas. In 1983, O’Rourke went to work for Richardson, Texas as an administrative assistant to the city manager and became the assistant to the city manager in Richardson two years later. In 1989, he became the assistant city manager in Coral Springs, Florida and in 1992 was promoted to Corals Springs city manager, a position he held until he joined Beaver Creek Resort Company.

“Tony has extensive management and leadership experience in both the public sector and the private sector and that appeals to the Council,” said Cawley. “We want him to bring his knowledge and energy to Yakima to help our community move forward. All of the finalists were strong in their own right, but, in the opinion the Council, Tony stood out the most,” said Cawley. “The Council was united in its decision to begin negotiations with Tony, and I’m pleased that the Council is all on the same page. It’s a positive sign for the Council and for Yakima.”