Joplin's search for a new city manager has restarted.

The Joplin City Council, in a closed meeting Tuesday night, reviewed 30 applications for the position that were provided by a search firm, Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas.

Mayor Gary Shaw said the council narrowed the field to eight during the closed session. The search firm is to provide more in-depth information about the eight semifinalists for council review by its next meeting on Feb. 3, the mayor said.

Those eight include two candidates who were in the running when the decision was made in late November to reboot the search. At that time, there had been five finalists, but two took other jobs and one withdrew for family reasons.

"They were still interested, and they understood we wanted to have a few more to look at," Shaw said of the two who were retained for final consideration.

The council originally had planned to bring four finalists to Joplin in early December, but the panel agreed to instead reboot the search because it wanted a larger field of finalists than two to choose for the job.

"Our goal is to have more information on these eight finalists, and we'll try to whittle that down to about four and bring four to town," the mayor said.

The search for a new city manager started in June. When the list of finalists dwindled two months ago, the mayor said there were concerns that in the effort to conduct a thorough search, there had been too much time taken, and some well-qualified candidates had accepted other jobs.

This time, the mayor plans to speed up the process.

"We'll have a lot more detailed information by the Feb. 3 meeting, and then we will move kind of fast to bring that number down to the finalists," Shaw said.

Currently, the city's health director, Dan Pekarek, is the interim city manager. The former city manager, Sam Anselm, left the job in March after eight years.

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