A self-employed Montgomery County business consultant is being tapped to replace longtime City Manager Neal W. Powell, who is retiring.

James White, 44, a financial systems and business adviser to small companies in the Washington-Baltimore corridor, has agreed to accept the $40,000-a-year post, City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield announcedMonday night.

The City Council is expected to approve his appointment before orat its monthly meeting Oct. 14, Stansfield said. White, who was unable to attend Monday's meeting, is expected to assume the post immediately after the vote.

White was chosen from a field of about 70 candidates, including a two-star general, school superintendents, teachers and formal municipal managers. The council began searching for a new city manager in late June after Powell announced his retirement.

Mayor Henry I. Reindollar said the council chose White because of his qualifications, which include serving as a county administrator inboth Culpeper and Frederick counties in Virginia. As a county administrator, Reindollar said, White had the "same general responsibilities" as a city manager.

In addition, White has a master's degree in planning from the University of Virginia.

"You never know what someone is going to bring to a position," Reindollar said. "We're hopinghis past experience will help him be successful in this job."

White is expected to visit Taneytown, Carroll's third-most populous community with 3,526 residents, several times over the next couple of weeks to familiarize himself with the town and its residents.

"They want me to get to know the town and the people," White said of his initial assignment. "Early on, it's going to be a learning experience.

"Neal Powell has left quite a legacy to be appreciated."

Powell,70, was appointed city manager in 1978. The Kansas native was elected to the council in 1957 and served as mayor for 11 years.

Although Powell had said he hoped to retire July 1, he has stayed on while the council conducted a search for his successor. He also plans to be available to help White assume the post.

Before beginning his own home-based business in 1987, White had the county administrator job in Frederick County for three years and the Culpeper County position for five years. He also has worked as a chief financial officer for a computer service firm.

Bud Glass, Culpeper County treasurer, said White was adept at working with the county's elected officials and its staff.

"He was pretty good at that," Glass said. "Of course, nobody is perfect. He'd be good as a city manager of a small town."

ACleveland native, White said he was attracted to the post because hewanted to relocate from metropolitan Washington and because his business and administrative skills matched Taneytown's needs.

"I really like small-town America," White said. "I wouldn't apply for a job in any municipality. I believe in the concept and environment it offers people. I enjoyed municipal administration before. I thought it wastime to do something different."

White said he plans to relocate from Olney to the Taneytown area. He and his wife, Linda, a part-timebookkeeper and office manager, have two children, Brian, 12, and Bradley, 9.

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