PHOENIX — After review of three applicants for the position of city manager, City Council members Wednesday opted to offer a six-month employment contract to Interim City Manager Joe Wrabek, one of the three considered.

PHOENIX — After review of three applicants for the position of city manager, City Council members Wednesday opted to offer a six-month employment contract to Interim City Manager Joe Wrabek, one of the three considered.

After an executive session, council member Gary Reed moved that the council "extend or re-create a new contract" for Wrabek through June 30, 2008, with performance benchmarks to be addressed quarterly.

At the contract's end, the council can opt to reevaluate Wrabek for consideration of a more permanent contract.

Wrabek said he was happy to stay and "didn't know what to think" before Wednesday's meeting.

"I really didn't know what to expect but we've got a lot of exciting stuff going on and I would like very much to be part of it," he said, "even with the financial issues."

Wrabek, with experience in everything from home building to city planning, came to Phoenix in early June to serve as city manager after newly-hired City Manager Dale Shaddox tendered his resignation after heated public debate over a utility surcharge referendum that voters rejected on Tuesday.

With the position advertised in August, the city received five applications, all from the West Coast. Two applicants withdrew in recent weeks.

Councilman Mike McKey said the council weighed its options carefully, considering a recommendation by a hiring committee made up of council members, local city managers and residents.

"What we're doing for the contract period we are doing for the best interest of the city at this time," said McKey.