CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - City Councilors are now one step closer to deciding who will lead Charlottesville as its next city manager.

On Wednesday, March 6, all three final candidates took part in a public interview as a large audience of community members watched and listened.

The theme of the night was transparency.

City Council held these interviews publicly in order to offer community members a chance to weigh in on the process, and each candidate offered insight into how they will bring transparency to Charlottesville's government.

“The city of Charlottesville has a great future and a whole lot of potential,” Tarron Richardson, one of the candidates, said.

The final three Charlottesville city manager candidates took their turn telling City Council and the community why they are the best fit for the job.

“I've worked in communities similar to Charlottesville in racial makeup, diversity, inclusion,” Michael Mallinoff, another candidate, said.

Mallinoff, who’s a former county administrator for Charles County, Maryland, hopes to offer a glimpse behind the veil of government.

“Transparency is a fundamental part of what I have done throughout my career,” Mallinoff said.

Richardson, who’s currently the city manager of Desoto, Texas, says he’s all about going out into the community and personally getting involved in solving problems.

“Anybody can be city manager and sit in an office and do nothing, but for me, I’m a manager who manages by walking around,” Richardson said.

Theodore Voorhees, who works as the county administrator in Powhatan County right now, says he hopes to move Charlottesville forward by putting the right people in the right positions to be successful.

“One of the roles that a good local government can play is to create many different opportunities and venues to work through whatever issues the community wants to tackle,” Voorhees said.

Each candidate fielded questions from councilors about hot-button topics like racial division, affordable housing, and transparency before taking part in a personal meet-and-greet with community members in the audience.

“I liked the second candidate,” Judy Sandridge, who lives in Charlottesville, said. “I think he would be more of a person who would be more transparent and bring us all together.”

“Probably gonna keep it to myself for right now, but there’s at least two people I like,” Joy Johnson, who lives in Charlottesville, said.

Audience members agree that just being invited to take part in this selection process is a big step forward for the city.

“I really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the questions they asked and being a part of it,” Sandridge said.

“Just being a part of it or hearing to draw your own conclusion is very important,” Johnson said.

After Wednesday night’s event wrapped up, community members were encouraged to fill out an evaluation form to let City Council know which candidates they liked best.

The three candidates are slated to meet with select city staff members on Thursday.

The city says after that, councilors should be making their final selection sometime fairly soon.