The Talent City Council Wednesday voted to move to the next step — background and reference checks — on city manager candidate Jerry Gillham, a process that will take up to a month.

The Talent City Council Wednesday voted to move to the next step — background and reference checks — on city manager candidate Jerry Gillham, a process that will take up to a month.

If the background investigation shows no issues, Gillham will be hired, said Mayor Bill Cecil. "He's our number one candidate."

Gillham would replace Jay Henry, whose contract was not renewed effective July 1.

Gillham was a manager or administrator in four Oregon municipalities about the size of Talent — Madras, Scappoose, Baker City and Prineville. He was city manager in Lakeport, Calif., and was a city manager in Balad, Iraq, as a member of the National Guard.

Gillham did three tours of duty in Iraq and received non-combat injuries. He was in rehabilitation and is just now getting discharged from the service, said Cecil.

"Every time he got in a city manager position, he got called up, so that created a lot of difficulties for him," Cecil said.

The council voted unanimously to go forward on Gillham, "which is a big step for him," said Cecil, adding that each council member spoke on the motion and none had any issue with Gillham.