West St. Paul is back in the hunt for a city manager after salary negotiations failed with Craig Clark, the city administrator of Worthington, Minn.

After interviewing finalists, the council offered the job to Clark, 42, in part for his expertise on economic development, which is a key issue for the city.

Salary discussions revealed that the two sides were not close on a dollar figure, said City Attorney Kori Land.

To save money, city council members had dispensed with a search firm and simply advertised the job. About 50 applications were received.

Going into the process, council members had said that if they were not successful they would turn to a search firm the next time, but they have not specifically discussed how to proceed, Land said.

West St. Paul's former city manager, John Remkus, retired about a year ago. Sherrie Le, the city's former human resources director and assistant manager, has been acting city manager since then.