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City completes interviews for Civic center candidates

A group of candidates vying to become the civic center's new director have been interviewed, city officials say.

A group of candidates vying to become the civic center's new director have been interviewed, city officials say.

ALBANY, Ga. -- The city of Albany has completed one round of interviews for candidates who have applied to take over operations of the civic center, city officials say.

The interviews were conducted last week and the applicants are currently being evaluated, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

Smith oversees civic center operations and will serve as the direct supervisor of the Civic Center director.

The candidates are vying for the job formerly held by John Mazzola, who left in March to take a job as the general manager for Global Entertainment.

He is currently overseeing operations and facilities in Dodge City, Kan.

The new director will be charged with organizing an encore performance of one of the civic center's most successful years.

In 2009, civic center and Municipal auditorium events brought in 9,000 more patrons than in 2008 and increased their estimated impact on the local economy by $1.9 million.

According to figures released by the city of Albany, 158,465 people attended 114 events at the Civic Center in 2009, generating an estimated $8.5 million economic impact for the local economy, which was up from $6.6 million in 2008.

Despite the uptick in community participation, the city and the civic center continue to receive criticism because of the venue's inability to be self-sustaining -- requiring a chunk of funding from the city's general fund each year.

Still, city officials seem optimistic about the showing some of the candidates have given during the process.

"Frankly, some of the candidates have been a surprise," Smith said Friday. "We'll see how things shape up but we should end up with a qualified and competent director."

City officials likely will determine the finalists for the position and make their information public by the end of the week.