The search for a new city manager in Tishomingo continues, and has now been whittled down to the final four.

Current city manager Jack Yates said Monday the list of 12 was trimmed to the best possible candidates for the job.

The remaining candidates are D.E. "Red" Erwin, Louis Smitherman, Ted E. Graham and Michael Jump. All have past experience in city manager roles in similar sized communities.

Yates said the first round of interviews was to determine who had a good, broad knowledge of city managing, including knowledge in finances and public works, and has a good grasp of small-town operations.

"Specifically, we're looking for someone with experience in public works," Yates said. "We feel like we need more expertise and need to spend a little more time in that area."

The next step is to do a series of background checks on each of the candidates. During their last meeting, Yates asked to work with the city attorney in producing a proper form to authorize background reviews. Those reviews would include credit history and their operations at previous city positions. Yates said it may be another week before the form is ready.

Yates has been the city manager for Tishomingo during the last seven years and is looking for what he called "semi-retirement" soon. He announced June 17 he would like to step down from the position. However, his duties during the transition will be to work with the new city manager, get them acquainted to their new role before he takes a part-time position as the chief financial officer for special projects.

"I'll be around still to help them adjust," Yates said.

One quality that he said is very important for the incoming hire would be financial security. Yates said the city's budget is much tighter than in recent years, and the new city manager must be able to balance it well to keep the city in operation.

"That will be part of my new responsibilities, but we have a tight budget this year. They'll have to watch expenses and keep an eye on expected revenues."

Yates said the city doesn't anticipate hiring anyone soon, but has a goal to hire someone by Oct. 1.

"That's the timeline," he said. "[The city] is all right with me fulfilling this role until they find someone they're confident about."