The Eureka City Council has narrowed the list of city manager candidates down to three, Mayor Frank Jager said on Tuesday.

One of the finalists is local, and the other two are from out of state, Jager said. He declined to identify the candidates.

”All have extensive experience managing cities; all seem to be pretty articulate,” he said. “All have ideas about what Eureka can do to move forward with things, and they all did their homework on Eureka and know quite a bit about the community.”

The council spent Monday interviewing six candidates in closed session.

At the end of February, the council will bring the three people who made the cut back for another round of interviews.

They will be interviewed by local government officials, Jager said, hopefully including city managers and the county administrative officer, and a panel of people in the community. The council will then meet with the candidates one more time.

”Any one of those three would be a good fit for Eureka,” he said.

Jager said he hopes to have the new city manager start in March.

During the regular council meeting, the council approved a contract between the city and the Eureka City Employee's Association through 2016.

A lower-level salary step for new employees in all classifications and a phased 2 percent employee contribution toward the city's annual Public Employees Retirement System employer contribution costs are included in the agreement.

The council was slated to vote on a bid for the Sunset Road reconstruction project, but Jager removed the item from the consent calendar.

The issue was taken off the agenda because the city is still evaluating the bids to make sure all the required information is provided and the documents are executed correctly, interim City Manager Mike Knight said.

The work will bring the utilities near the Lost Coast Brewery expansion site, located on a 9.3-acre parcel of pastureland east of South Broadway between Sunset Road and Ocean View Cemetery, up to standard, and roads will be resurfaced.

Staff recommend the bid be awarded to RAO Construction Co. Inc. for about $735,700.

The council will meet again on Feb. 18 for its regularly scheduled meeting.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or lrodriguez@times-standard.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.