Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – The recruitment process for a new city manager will be placed on the City Council’s agenda for Oct. 3, with a decision over whether to keep the process in-house or seek a request for proposal from a private recruitment firm.
The Council met Friday morning at Kingman Police Department to hear from Jackie Walker, director of human resources and risk management, about replacing City Manager John Dougherty. His contract was not renewed by the city and will expire at the end of November.
Walker said either avenue is going to be a similar process in terms of developing a profile of characteristics and qualifications for the ideal candidate, along with advertising the position and preliminary screening.
The difference is in cost and the amount of time her staff would have to dedicate to the recruitment process. She estimated the cost at $17,000 for the internal work, and up to $35,000 for an outside recruitment firm, possibly $20,000 to $28,000, depending on the scope of services.
Human Resources has two new employees and is working on a large payroll migration project, along with performance evaluations. The recruitment process would probably take at least a month longer.
“So we’re pretty tasked to prepare that in-house,” Walker said. “My recommendation is an external firm.”
It will take about four months to review applications, screen candidates, check their backgrounds and go through a further “weeding” process with a Skype interview, essay and other options to narrow the list to three to five finalists, she said.
Mayor Monica Gates said the city did an internal recruitment for economic developer, and it was not as successful as they had hoped.
“Given our history trying to get a city manager, a four-month recruitment period is optimistic,” she said. “Obviously, we don’t want to move too quickly. I think bringing in an outside recruiter has merit.”
Councilwoman Jamie Stehly-Scott said she would hate to add another month to finding a city manager, as she saw what happened with the search for an economic developer. Her concern was putting pressure on Human Resources to find the right candidate.
Lake Havasu City has already started advertising for a city manager with the Springsted and Waters recruitment firm, and Councilwoman Vickie Kress asked of the city could see those applications. That would be up to Lake Havasu City, Walker responded.
The human resources director looked at city manager salaries in other cities such as Payson, which has a population of about 15,000, and Flagstaff, with a population of 65,000, and found the average salary to be $152,970. Dougherty was making $127,000, the lowest of any city manager in the comparison, she noted.
Walker said her goal is to have the item on the Oct. 3 agenda, post an advertisement by Oct. 13, close the application period Nov. 13, review the candidates and have it on the Nov. 21 agenda to determine the finalists. Interviews would be conducted in December and January and the new city manager would be on board in February.