Council takes steps to hire new manager

It may take several months, as was the case with the previous search, but City Council got the ball rolling Monday in the direction it will take in appointing a new city manager.

Mayor Les Byram opened the 5 p.m. work session by stating that the city has three options: it can hire an outside consulting firm at a cost between $17,000 to $25,000, not including travel expenses; it can heed the advice and use the guidance of the League of Arizona Cities & Towns; or it can handle the search internally.

Council took no official action, however, the latter choice was preferred, and several Council members voiced support for including the league in the process.

Byram also said - and several Council members seconded his opinion - that city staff and Council are quite capable of heading the search without the help of an expensive consulting firm.

Currently, Byram said that after meeting with department heads this and last Monday, he's confident that city business will continue uninterrupted, as staff has indicated that they are willing to work with Acting City Manager Jack Kramer while the search begins.

Human Resources Director Jackie Walker gave an overview to Council regarding the process for hiring a city manager, and she added several suggestions that may have helped the city in its last search.

Rather than waiting until finalists are chosen, Walker suggested running background checks of applicants before that point. Along with these investigations, she suggested more thorough inquiries into each candidate's history. Options presented ranged from conducting online searches of past newspaper articles regarding the candidates' actions to making phone calls to mayors, council members and communities in general.

Walker even suggested having someone visit the former places of employment for those candidates who've made the cut and are being seriously considered for the position.

In the past, the city has sent out brochures, posted the job opening on various Web sites, and published the information regarding the ideal candidate in magazines and newsletters.

Three panels individually evaluated candidates during the last city manager search, which landed Paul Beecher. Citizens comprised one, city staff another and the Kingman City Council the final panel.

At Councilman Ray Lyons' suggestion, Council also may consider leaving out the interview question of whether or not each candidate has any skeletons in his or her closet.