The city has found its new administrator - now it's time to start looking for a new City Council member.

In a surprise move Tuesday night, the City Council approved the appointment of Councilman Gary Chandler to the city's top administrative post.Chandler, a former energy industry executive who turns 49 this week, immediately stepped down from his council seat and Mayor Dix McMullin indicated the city will begin looking for a replacement immediately.

Residents interested in the position can file application with the city until 5 p.m. on Aug. 21.

McMullin said the city has 30 days to appoint a replacement, who will serve until the next municipal election in November 1999. Finalists for the post will be interviewed by the council in an open meeting later this month.

Chandler, who replaces departing City Administrator Dave Millheim, reported for work Wednesday morning and will draw an annual salary of $80,000.

Millheim, who will wrap up his 31/2-year tenure with the city next week, resigned his post earlier this summer to pursue a career in private-sector property development and management.

McMullin said he originally asked Chandler to serve as acting city administrator while South Jordan conducted a national search to replace Millheim. The council spent three days last week winnowing through 52 applications for the city administrator job.

But the mayor said he was gratified to learn Chandler might be willing to accept the full-time position instead.

"He probably exceeds the qualifications of the other 51 people who applied for the position," said McMullin. "I think we've found an excellent person to handle the affairs of our city."

A certified public accountant who holds a master's of business administration degree from the University of Utah, Chandler was elected to his first term on the council in November.

McMullin said that in his seven months of council service, Chandler has proved to be an able negotiator who has represented the city on some key development issues.

Following a 23-year career in the energy industry, working for companies in Houston and Portland, the new administrator moved to South Jordan 31/2 years ago.

He said his immediate goals are "to carry on the way the city has been going," emphasizing open space and a rural atmosphere coupled with a commitment to well-managed economic development.

Chandler also praised the work of council members and city staffers who have worked hard to bring South Jordan through its growing pains over the past few years.

"It wasn't an easy decision . . . to decide to take on these challenges," said Chandler, who has been semi-retired for the past year and a half. "But South Jordan is a place that really grows on you."

Chandler's appointment came at about 11 p.m. Tuesday following two long and grueling public hearings that drew several dozen South Jordan property owners.

Despite the hour, a number of residents who turned out for the hearings stayed on for the appointment of the new administrator.

Council members Tom Christensen and Mary Lynn Liddiard commended Millheim for his service to South Jordan.