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October 13, 2020 - 12:19pm

The search for a permanent City of Batavia manager is progressing, according to City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., who didn’t have much new information to report other than the Cincinnati, Ohio-based consulting firm assisting the board is now part of a larger corporation with offices across the United States.

“We’re setting up timetables to keep the process going and The Novak Consulting Group is scheduling their people to meet with the committee that has been formed by City Council,” Jankowski said today, adding that TNCG has been acquired by another company.

A click on the TNCG website indicates that as of January 2020, it now is part of Raftelis, a national leader in financial, rate, organizational, technology, and strategic business consulting services to the public sector and utilities throughout the United States.

Per the website, “Raftelis’ capabilities and resources mean we now offer clients a broader range of services, and can quickly connect our clients to experts who can deliver the analysis and insights they need.” It also stated that the entire TNCG staff is now part of Raftelis and the firm will maintain its headquarters in Cincinnati.

Last month, Jankowski announced the appointment of Council members Patti Pacino and John Canale, Public Works Director Matt Worth and Human Resources Specialist Dawn Fairbanks to a screening/search committee to set the wheels in motion for the hiring of a city manager to replace Martin Moore, who left the position in June.

Assistant City Manager Rachael Tabelski has been serving as the interim city manager for the past four months.

Jankowski said he didn’t know who will be coordinating the search for TNCG, noting that he expects the local committee to update Council as developments occur.

During the search in the spring and summer months of 2018 that resulted in Moore’s hiring, Catherine Tuck Parrish, executive search senior manager, was the key player for TNCG.

The Batavian placed a call to TNCG this morning to find out if Tuck Parrish was going to direct the search this time, but the person who answered said that she was out of the office until Wednesday.

Jankowski said Council has been in contact with TNCG “all the way back to June 20,” but the company wasn’t available to step in until sometime last month. Per a stipulation in the previous contract, TNCG agreed to provide a “free search” to the city should the city manager leave prior to completing two years on the job.

Moore’s tenure in Batavia lasted for 21 months.

The city reportedly paid $23,500 for the 2018 executive search, plus a few thousand dollars more for advertising, background checks and transportation costs for finalists to attend interviews in Batavia.

Moore received a starting salary of $110,000, with annual increases of $2,000 along with retirement benefits, paid family medical insurance, three weeks’ vacation, life insurance, and relocation reimbursement up to $10,000.

Jankowski said it is his understanding that the city will cover “what we did last time -- beyond their fee – which was advertising costs, interview costs and transportation costs to bring candidates here, and so on.”

He also said that all costs would come before Council prior to payment.

“If we’re going to bring X amount of people in for interviews and it’s going to cost approximately this much money, then Council has to appropriate that,” he said. “It’s not a major expenditure but these are expenses that weren’t budgeted for, so we would have to find the account where it would be legal to be transferred from – such as Administrative Services or the City Manager’s Office. When these costs become apparent, we will make that information available to the public.”

He also said Council will zero in on the qualifications and skills of its next city manager.

“Council will make it known what’s important to them and what’s important to our community. Are we advertising for a people person or a financial expert or a manager for major projects? It’s up to Council to set that job description above and beyond what is listed in the charter,” he explained.

Jankowski said TNCG will do all the screening and preinterviews and make sure the candidates meet all of the qualifications and verify that people are honest about their credentials.

“When that’s all done it comes to the committee and the committee does additional screening, narrowing down the candidates who will be interviewed by all of Council,” he said. “That’s how we did it last time and I expect the process to be pretty much along those same lines.”

As far as TNCG is concerned, Jankowski said it will be “a team approach.”

“There isn’t one or two specific people,” he said. “One of their people may be an expert in background investigations, another may be an expert in screening the actual individual. Now that they’re part of this other company, I believe they will bring more people to the table because they have a larger organization to tap into.”

Jankowski said regardless of who is sitting at the table, Council is committed to making sure the search “is done property, fairly, ethically and legally … and as open as we possibly can.”

While the job search may or may not come up for discussion at tonight’s City Council Business Meeting, a resolution to supplement Tabelski’s current salary with a $1,000 per month stipend for additional responsibilities is on the agenda. The increased pay would be retroactive to July 20 and continue until the city manager post is filled.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 o’clock at the City Centre Board Room.

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