The top three candidates for Miami's city manager position , each hailing from across state lines, will be in town next week for a quick introduction to the city and its citizens.

Michael Ashcroft, Huey P. Long and Mike Randall will arrive in Miami on July 18 where members of the city council and city administrators will pair up to guide the candidates through the area and , eventually, to a public "meet and greet."

A public meeting has been posted for 6 p.m. that day as council members will gather and use the opportunity to see Ashcroft, Long and Randal interact with the public. No discussion of city business is planned.

Searching for a new city manager is new territory for city leaders, according to Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield.

"Though this will be our second city manager since the city changed its form of government, this is the first time we have had to go through the process of hiring for the position."

Former city manager Michael Spurgeon was appointed to the position from an in-house administrative position when the city changed its form of government nearly a decade ago.

"I am very proud of the manner in which the screening committee has carried out the process," Brassfield said. "This process started in January and the committee has remained committed and contentious."

City officials vowed early to remain above board in their search and were careful in following the mandates of the city charter.

The search for a city manager has remained an in-house process as the screening committee decided that it would take on the task , sparing the city the expense of hiring a search firm. Brassfield estimated that the decision saved the city between $25,000 and $50,000.

The screening committee, comprised of Brassfield, city councilmen Scott Trussler and Terry Atkinson, utility board members Bob Tyson and Doug Weston and two at-large members Larry Smith and RuthAnn Ferris, has reviewed more than 50 applications and narrowed the field to Ashcroft, Long and Randall.

"The committee's role in this process is now over," Brassfield said.

The panel presented its three top candidates to a joint meeting of the city council and utility board more than a week ago, formally ending its responsibility.

The city council and utility boards will now take the committee's recommendations, review the credentials of the top candidates and cast their votes for a new city manager. Though each panel will vote separately, the candidate receiving the majority votes between the two panels will receive the appointment.

Brassfield said he expects votes to be cast in August and the new city manager to be in place by Sept. 1.

The candidates

Ashcroft: Currently resides in Olathe, Kan., a city with a population of 115,000, where he is the deputy city manager. He has a masters degree in public administration and has extensive experience with municipal budget practices, according to Brassfield. He also brings experience in negotiations and facilitation.

Long: Currently resides in Safford, Ariz., and has 38 years of experience in municipal administration. He is a second-generation public administrator and was once declared the youngest person nationwide who held a public administration job. He was 21 years old when he held his first city manager job. Long is currently the assistant city manager in Safford, a community of 10,500.

Randall: Currently a resident of Monette, Ariz., where he operates a consulting firm for municipal governments. He has 15 years of experience in municipal government, having served as city administrator in Prairieville, Kan., and Carthage, Mo., and was a former city manager in Aurora, Mo. He served as a budget analyst in Kansas City, Mo., He holds a masters degree in public administration.