Politics News

Search for New Eau Claire City Manager Narrowed to Two

interim manager and county official are finalists for top job

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

THE TOP TWO. Finalists for Eau Claire city manager are Stephanie Hirsh, top, and David Solberg.
THE TOP TWO. Finalists for Eau Claire city manager are Stephanie Hirsch, top, and David Solberg.

The City of Eau Claire announced late Wednesday afternoon that the pool of candidates for city’s next manager has been winnowed to two: Stephanie Hirsch, an operations administrator in the Eau Claire County Department of Human Services, and David Solberg, the current interim city manager and city engineer.

According to a media release, the Eau Claire City Council met Jan. 25 and decided to invite the two candidates “to move forward in the search process.” Interviews of the finalists by the City Council and city stakeholders are expected on or around Feb. 22-23. According to the statement, “The City Council remains committed to working alongside City staff, the residents of Eau Claire, and our community partners in the search and selection of Eau Claire’s next City Manager. The City Council recognizes and welcomes public interest in the City Manager search and hiring process and will continue in as public and transparent a manner as is also consistent with this hiring decision.”

The last permanent city manager, Dale Peters, announced his retirement in February 2020. However, he remained on the job until October of that year to help guide the city’s response to COVID-19. Since Peters’ departure, Solberg has served as interim city manager. A subsequent search for a replacement drew three finalists, but the top pick chose a job elsewhere and the effort was suspended in February 2021.

Last fall, the City Council began search efforts again, this time with the help of Polihire, a national executive search firm. According to the Leader-Telegram, 37 people applied for the job between October and December.

Here are brief biographies of Hirsch and Solberg provided by the city:

Stephanie Hirsch is an Operations Administrator, Department of Human Services, with Eau Claire County. Prior to her service with the County, Stephanie served for 15 years in various roles with the City of Somerville, Massachusetts. Some of those roles included: At-Large City Councilor, Special Projects to the Mayor, District Performance Management Coordinator, and Director of numerous Mayoral Projects and teams. Prior to her work with the City of Somerville, she served as a Senior Associate and Municipal Government Consultant at the Collins Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and as a Project Manager at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her other experience includes employment with the Boston Police Department, the City of New York and the University of Chicago. Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) from Swarthmore College and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

David Solberg is the current Interim City Manager for Eau Claire. His permanent position is that of Engineering Director/City Engineer, a role he has held since 2013. He has also served as Interim Community Services Director twice. Prior to joining the City of Eau Claire, David served in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as a Project Development Supervisor and Civil Engineer Transportation Project Manager. David earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Platteville.