The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has nearly completed its search for a new general manager and will recommend three candidates for the position to the Prince George's and Montgomery County Councils in early February, WSSC commissioners said this week.

In an apparent bureaucratic mixup, the names of thirteen candidates for the post, including three present agency employees, became public knowledge after an internal WSSC memo sent to the Montgomery County Council was duplicated and included in reporters' press packets.

Two of the three current agency employees, acting general manager John N. Brusnighan and deputy general manager Richard Hocevar, are among a group of five to eight people the WSSC commissioners will pare down to three finalists during an all-day meeting Monday.

The WSSC commissioners, meeting with the Montgomery County Council, were embarrassed over the release of the memo. However, because only the last names of the candidates, drawn from a nationwide search, were listed, only the agency's own employees could be identified readily.

The search for McLeod's successor, which utilized the services of a Baltimore executive talent search firm, has cost the agency more than $28,000, according to figures contained in the memo. The new general manager will be paid between $45,000 and $55,000, WSSC chairman Johanna Norris said.