The city of Eureka on Monday released who was selected to serve on a community panel that will be interviewing city manager candidates during a closed session meeting on Wednesday, after initially declining the Times-Standard's request for the names.

”That was just an unfortunate set of circumstances,” Mayor Frank Jager said. “There's no reason why the names couldn't have been released.

”I had no problems with the release of them,” Jager added. “If I'd had that list with me, I would have released them. It was just a matter of timing.”

Kurt Kramer, Heidi Benzonelli, Dale Maples, J Warren Hockaday, Jack Crider and Lorene Dunaway will serve on the community panel, according to the city. A professional panel, including former Eureka City Manager David Tyson, County Administrative Officer Philip Smith-Hanes, along with local city managers Karen Suiker, Randy Mendosa, Regan Candelario, Jack Parrish, and Jim Test will also meet with the candidates.

A First Amendment expert interviewed for a Saturday Times-Standard article said he believes the council violated the state's opening meeting law -- known as the Brown Act -- by forming the community panel without notifying the public, and then declining to release the names despite specifying the members of the professional panel.

The Times-Standard filed a public records act request for the names on Friday.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or