LOWELL -- Six finalists have been selected in the effort to replace City Manager Bernie Lynch, The Sun has learned.

Those finalists are:

* State Rep. Kevin Murphy, a Lowell Democrat who has represented the city at the Statehouse since 1997;

* Former City Councilor George Ramirez, executive vice president of Devens operations for MassDevelopment;

* North Reading Town Administrator Greg Balukonis;

* Blackstone Administrator Daniel Keyes

* Former East Providence, R.I., City Manager Peter Graczykowski;

* Robert Bruner, who most recently served as a municipal manager in Birmingham, Michigan.

Balukonis is also a finalist for the town manager's position in Dracut.

The finalists were chosen from 29 applicants. City councilors were able to select up to five candidates to interview. City Clerk Michael Geary tabulated the councilors' votes and passed along the names of the top five vote-getters plus ties to councilors on Monday morning.

Lynch's resignation was effective as of noon Monday. Geary will be acting as city manager.

The council will hold a special meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. to solicit input on what characteristics and qualities the public is looking for in a city manager.

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