In local government, attitudes and political philosophies can change quickly. Benjamin Marchant knows that firsthand.

Marchant was city manager for Jerome, Idaho, a city of roughly 11,000 people just north of the Utah border, for almost four years, until last October.

A new City Council and a new mayor had taken office and changed the community’s priorities, he said. The mayor was eager to redefine roles, taking on more responsibility and taking some away from Marchant.

“The goals that had been set for me when I was hired had ended, and the political environment was becoming divisive,” said Marchant, now a candidate for the top job at the city of Auburn. “The value-set had turned away from those I had for professional, progressive leadership.”

Marchant, 36, went into an executive session with his City Council on Oct. 4. They walked out later that night, having accepted Marchant’s resignation.

“It was a friendly separation,” Marchant said. “I don’t think there is a separation that’s not regrettable. I do wish it had gone differently, but it was the right thing to happen at the right time.”

Marchant said he’s fully aware how similar his story is to Glenn Aho, the former Auburn city manager ousted by councilors last October. Aho ended his time as Auburn’s manager last Oct. 18, after conflicts with city councilors about his management philosophy and role.

The City Council is on track to select a final city manager candidate and begin negotiations to replace Aho permanently next month.

That doesn’t concern Marchant, he said.

“I can tell you wholeheartedly, I’m not worried about Auburn,” he said. “Auburn has a great, hardworking council in office that shares goals and works together. And that is what attracts me most. They have shared goals and shared plan and they want to make a difference, and I want to go somewhere I can make a difference.”

The Auburn job would be a step up, he said. He’s had municipal jobs across the country, working as deputy chief of protocol for the Mayor’s Office in San Diego, Calif., from 2000-04, an administrative intern in Hoffman Estates, Ill., from 2004-05 and assistant to the city administrator for Maryland Heights, Mo., until 2008. That’s when he took the job in Idaho.

“I definitely have a different perspective, coming from large cities, medium-sized cities and small towns,” he said. “I think I have a diverse appreciation for all kinds of political points of view and priorities that are different from community to community. It’s made me the kind of manager I am.”

He’s been working as a consultant since leaving the Jerome post.

“I’ve applied to other city management positions around the country,” he said. “I’ve just been in this transition phase, looking for the next, right opportunity.”

Marchant will be in Auburn on May 1, attending a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Auburn Public Library, 49 Spring St. His wife, Randi, plans to attend as well, Marchant said. The couple have four children: Tanner, 11, Rylie, 8, Jocelyn, 6, and Lenore, 2.

“I think Auburn is a beautiful city, and I’m very excited about this opportunity to come and serve them, if that’s what’s granted,” he said.

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