He said those answers also will help narrow the field of candidates.

He indicated that once those questions are sent, the candidates may have less than a week to answer them, so commissioners have them well before the face-to-face interviews.

Osborne also encouraged all the candidates to reach out to individual commissioners and try to set up informal discussions with them before June 24. "I would encourage every candidate who is interested to do that," he said. "That's really your opportunity to stand out as an individual."

June 24 interviews

During the June 24 interviews, each commissioner who attends will have ask each candidate one question, said Osborne. The candidates will have one minute to answer each question.

He said the interviews will give commissioners an opportunity to ask questions that are different from those that will be sent out and answered in writing before June 24.

Candidates will be able to use their final minute to elaborate on a question they did not have time to fully answer earlier. Or they can offer anything else they would like to share to sell themselves and persuade commissioners they are the best candidate, explained Osborne.

Scheller asked about candidates who cannot attend the June 24 interview sessions because they already have long-term plans.

With 16 candidates, there is no one evening or maybe even no two evenings that will satisfy everyone’s personal schedules, said Osborne. “It’s one of the drawbacks to having such a large field.”

He encouraged candidates in that situation to reach out to individual commissioners and ask for a personal audience, “so their candidacy can be given as much weight as they can persuade this board on an individual basis to give them, even though they are not able to be here.”

He added: “One of the reasons for the standard set of questions prior to the session is so that they still participate in the process.”

Committee will recommend finalists

After the interviews, Osborne’s three-member appointments committee will recommend a finalist or finalists to be nominated, voted on and appointed by the full board of commissioners.

That recommendation must be made by June 29. Osborne intends for his committee to make it when the board has its regular meeting on June 25, the night after the interviews.

But he explained the board won’t necessarily appoint someone on June 25. He said one commissioner can’t attend the June 25 meeting, so the board might decide to delay taking action until its July 9 meeting – still beating the July 14 deadline to fill the seat.

The successful candidate needs five votes.

Noting the quality of the candidates, Dougherty said Osborne’s committee faces a very tough job narrowing down the list.

Dougherty said the full board can reject whatever recommendation Osborne’s committee might make. And, he added, “We don’t even have to select someone from the pool of candidates.”

Osborne agreed that the board can reject his committee’s recommendation.

“The full board has to first act on the committee’s recommendation,” explained David Barilla, the commissioners’ clerk. “If the committee would make no recommendation, it would go right to the board’s nomination process.”

“What the committee is doing is winnowing the field for us,” said Dougherty. “If they come forward with one candidate, it better be someone who stands head and shoulders above everybody.”

“I was thinking we’d have four or five applicants and there would be no reason to narrow them down,” said Commissioner Vic Mazziotti.

Commissioner David Jones hopes Osborne’s committee will recommend multiple candidates to the full board, rather than just one.

Although Mazziotti serves on Osborne’s committee, he said he can’t imagine voting to disqualify anybody after just a 10-minute interview.

Mazziotti said candidates will be disqualified during the nomination process by the full board of commissioners.