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February 25, 2018 - 11:51am

Committee to recommend Cincinnati firm to conduct city manager search; cost set at around $26K

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, The Novak Consulting Group.

The City of Batavia's search committee that has been formed to fill the vacant city manager position is recommending that The Novak Consulting Group conduct the professional search at an approximate cost of $26,200.

The commitee, consisting of Council members Eugene Jankowski, Adam Tabelski and Robert Bialkowski along with HR Specialist Dawn Fairbanks, will be asking Council to consider the Cincinnati, Ohio, firm during Monday night's Conference Meeting at the City Centre's Council Board Room with the goal of the board casting a positive vote at a Special Business Meeting immediately afterward.

According to a memo from Fairbanks dated Feb. 21, the search commitee received seven responses from executive search services for the recruitment of a manager to replace Jason Molino, who resigned effective Jan. 29.

Fairbanks wrote that the committee narrowed the field down to three finalists, and each of those companies were interviewed via a conference call.

"After careful review, the Search Committee recommends The Novak Consulting Group for the search services ...," Fairbanks wrote.

The proposed contract calls for the City to pay $23,500 for Novak to "complete the city manager recruitment," with additional costs as follows: $1,000-$1,500 for advertising, $175-$300 per top finalist for background checks, and travel costs for finalists to attend interviews in the City.

The Novak Consulting Group was founded in 2009 by Julia D. Novak, whose resume lists 30 years of experience working with and for local governments. A consultant, trainer and facilitator, Novak's local government career includes positions in Fort Collins, Colo.; Lexington, Mass.; Rockville, Md,; and Rye, N.Y. (where she was the city manager).

She is a noted author and speaker on a variety of public administration management topics. Her staff includes consultants with decades of collective experience.

Details of the executive search contract's work plan for the City of Batavia, as provided by Novak, are as follows:

-- Develop candidate profile. Tasks include speaking with each member of City Council to learn individual expectations of each elected offical, in addition to discovering the shared goals for a new city manager -- utilizing focus groups and/or online surveys. From those meetings, etc., Novak promises to develop a tailored marketing and recruitment plan that includes New York, the region and the nation, preparing a position profile that is unique to Batavia. Also, the firm says it will develop first-year organizational goals for the successful candidate so he or she knows what will be expected.

-- Conduct active recruitment and screening. Tasks include conducting an advertising campaign -- using social media, phone and email contacts -- to identify and solicit potential candidates. After that is completed, the firm will market the position and identify qualified candidates for assessment, utilizing networks such as the International City/County Management Association, New York State City County Managers Association and other state and regional organizations pertinent to the recruiting process. The recruitment plan includes seeking candidates who are minorities, women and those who have worked in similar communities.

-- Support interviews and selection. Tasks include facilitating a customized, multistep interview process, which could consist of writing and role play exercises and/or a community reception. Novak will help arrange travel logistics for each candidate, and review candidates' strengths and backgrounds. The firm also is able to assist in salary negotiations.

The contract would be good for two years, with the guarantee that if the new hire leaves the position within two years time, Novak would conduct a new search for no professional fee. The City would then be responsible for billed direct expenses only.

Novak has assigned Catherine Tuck Parrish, who has conducted more than 100 searches for city manager/administrator jobs, and Jenn Reichelt, who has 16 years of experience in local government management, as the executive search practice leader and associate, respectively.

Other items on the Conference Meeting agenda include:

-- Public hearings for the budget ordinance; water rates, meter fees and capital improvement fees; establishing a user fee for the City Centre Mall, and amending the Business Improvement District Plan.

-- Creation of a full-time building maintenance worker and four part-time custodians as part of the City's Public Works Department to cover the operation and maintenance of the Mall concourse as a result of the City's agreement with the mall merchants association.

-- A resolution for an inter-municipal agreement with Genesee County for the City to pay 20 percent of the Genesee County Youth Bureau director's time spent providing administrative services for the City Youth Bureau.

John Roach
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This was supposed to be done last month. Glad they finally got around to it.

Scott Chismar
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When all is said and done this will end up costing much more than $26k. Much more. Too bad Molino could not get the raise he deserved here.

Mike Pettinella
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Just looking at the math -- 2.75 percent increase per year for the former city manager -- could have gotten about 8 to 10 years of raises for $26K. And you have to think the new manager will end up with more than what Jason Molino was making.

John Roach
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We might never know if Molino would have stayed long, even if he got his pay raise here (of about $2,000). But he got a $35,000 pay raise by moving on in his career field. Not many would turn down a job that now pays them $130,000 a year, and that is to start.

Mike Pettinella
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True.

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