RIVERSIDE – The mayor and council interviewed the first of four candidates who have applied for the city’s water and street superintendent’s job.

The officials interviewed Jason “Kelly” Matthews of Centre Wednesday for about 30 minutes in the city’s storm shelter behind City Hall.

Matthews said he worked for Water and Sewer Board for the Town of Centre for almost 24 years, and holds certifications as a water and sewer operator. He also has experience in road construction.

Matthews appeared uncertain whether he and his family would move to the Riverside area if he was offered the job.

“We need someone in town, within 20 minutes of town,” Mayor Rusty Jessup told Matthews.

He said someone in the water department must be on call 24 hours, seven days a week, and the head of the water and street departments would need to be available for emergencies.

“We need someone local,” Jessup said. “You can tell your wife that if you accepted the job here, you will have to move here.”

Councilman Frank Riddle told Matthews that the mayor and council will not micromanage his job.

“We’re looking for someone to manage,” Riddle said.

Matthews is one of five candidates who applied for the job.

Three candidates are slated for interviews today, starting at 4 p.m. in the storm shelter.

The officials will interview Toby Reed of Springville, Brian Gulledge of Cropwell and Jeremy Harvard of Riverside.

Because of a scheduling conflict for one candidate, Jessup said he and City Clerk Candace Smith, who also serves as the city’s personnel officer, interviewed John Lee of Riverside on Tuesday.

Jessup said Wednesday that he was impressed with Matthews’ experience.

“I was really impressed with this guy,” he said. “He’s got some great experience.”

However, Riddle said he had doubts about whether Matthews would relocate permanently to Riverside for this job opportunity, noting that Matthews’ wife has a job where they live now.

“I don’t think he will relocate,” Riddle said.

Jessup said it is important that candidates realize their role with the city, because the superintendent will oversee both the city’s water and streets.

“It’s a big job,” Jessup said. “It will take a very special person who has working skills with big equipment, and who also has the ability to manage people and a budget.”

The new water/street superintendent will supervise at least four employees.

“This is a really important position for us,” Jessup said. “It’s not an easy job, but it’s an attractive job position.”

The starting pay for the position is $37,024.

After the candidate completes a one-year probationary period, the new water/street superintendent will receive a 10 percent pay raise.

Jessup said he hopes to complete all interviews today, so the council can discuss the hiring one of the five candidates at next Tuesday’s council work session.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.