The Arlington County Board has narrowed its search for a new county manager to about a dozen candidates and plans to make its final choice in June, said Republican Board Chairman Stephen H. Detwiler.

The board will pick top finalists in a week to 10 days after reviewing recommendations presented by Pequod Associates, the Boston consulting firm hired to assist the board in the selection process, Detwiler said.

Last fall, the board's Republican majority voted to dismiss former county manager W. Vernon Ford by a 3-to-2 vote that followed party lines. A controversy developed when Democratic board members attacked the majority GOP board members for taking the action without public hearings or debate. Republican board members rejected the charges and said Ford was properly dismissed.

When the board refused to waive early retirement penalties and grant Ford full retirement benefits, he sued the county for $250,000 in benefits and an additional $500,000 in punitive damages. Ford argued that his firing was motivated by political reasons.

Detwiler said all board members have taken part in the selection process for the new manager. "I have gone out of my way in every respect to make the whole selection process a nonpartisan matter," he said. Democratic board member Ellen M. Bozman said that so far all board members have agreed with the decisions at each step of the way.