The Batavia City Council can expect the process of hiring a new city manager to take at least three months and it should be prepared to pay a salary of at least $110,000, according to a representative of the recruitment firm contracted by the municipality to find someone to replace former City Manager Jason Molino.
Six of the nine council members took part in a meeting at the City Centre conference room tonight with Catherine Tuck Parrish, executive search practice leader for The Novak Consulting Group, which is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tuck Parrish’s office is in Rockville, Md.
“The market for city managers is what it is … you’re not competing against nonprofits and the private sector,” Tuck Parrish said. “I’ve seen your salary, and you’re going to have a hard time (finding someone at that level).”
Molino ended a nearly 12-year association with the City on Jan. 26, and started his new job as Tompkins County administrator three days later. He left Batavia with a salary of about $94,000; his pay at his new position increased to around $130,000.
Tuck Parrish, during her 60-minute presentation, outlined her company’s proposed recruitment plan – touching on key points such as job postings and outreach, timeline, interview process, and confidentiality and public information. She also distributed a one-pager that set the qualifications for the optimal candidate.
“We’re looking at three deliverables,” she said, calling them a main document, working document and recruitment plan memo.
The main document is a recruitment brochure that “highlights the best of Batavia – the great things about your community,” she said. It also will include the requirements for the job, preferred qualities and how to apply for the position.
The working document is a list of 12- to 18-month goals that “helps me know what is most important to you (City Council) and helps the next manager to say ‘Here’s what I need to do.’ The manager can only focus on so many things and do them well, so this identifies your top priorities.”
The third document, a memo, is the basic recruitment plan that pinpoints where to post the jobs – such as the International City/County Management Association newsletters and the League of Women in Government website, for example – and the related costs, as well as the recruitment schedule and proposed interview process.
Tuck Parrish said her firm will use social media and links, and also “customizes” outreach for each position, including targeting particular individuals.
“If you have an individual or organization (in mind), let me know and instead of you recruiting them, let me handle it,” she said, speaking directly to the council members. “It is my job to protect you.”
As far as the schedule is concerned, Tuck Parrish said telephone interviews with council members, department heads and bureau chiefs were conducted prior to tonight’s briefing. She said she expects drafts of the recruitment plan, brochure and first-year goals to be submitted by April 3 with the board’s final comments on those three items due by April 10.
On April 17, the firm will post the position, place ads and begin outreach to prospective candidates, she said.
“From April 17th through May 29th, that time is our work,” she said, to which Council President Eugene Jankowski replied, “Our goal is to let you do your job and come back to us when you have some candidates.”
That could happen around the week of June 18 when Tuck Parrish will meet with City Council to review the top candidates and select those to be interviewed (in a session closed to the public).
She said that the process must be “completely confidential” to protect both City Council and prospective candidates who, likely, will be employed in similar jobs at the time.
“It’s not that you can’t share names and information during the process, but also after that as well,” she said. “It comes down to a code of silence forever.”
Council members present – John Canale, Rose Mary Christian and Paul Viele were absent – said they would leave it to the recruitment subcommittee of Jankowski, Robert Bialkowski, Adam Tabelski and HR Specialist Dawn Fairbanks to whittle a large field of candidates down to about three, and then the entire board would get involved.
The Novak Group personnel will conduct reference and background checks at the end of June, Tuck Parrish said, with the goal of City Council conducting interviews in early July.
The exact dates are up in the air due to Jankowski having to be in Texas from July 7-27 to film “Shot to the Heart TV,” a shooting competition show involving couples of which he is the host.
Tuck Parrish’s timeline calls for negotiation with the top finalist and approval of the employment agreement happening sometime after July 13, and for the new manager to begin his or her employment within 60 days after that.
Required qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, minimum of five years of local government experience in progressively responsible positions, and supervisor/executive level experience (including time as city/county manager or assistant manager or department director).
Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree, budget development/financial management, grants administration, labor relations, project management, economic revitalization, intergovernmental relations, business/community engagement, strategic planning and credentialed manager.
Tuck Parrish said City Council should expect the new manager to relocate to the City within a “reasonable time after appointment” and set the compensation package at $110,000 to $135,000 (depending upon qualifications), with an excellent benefit package.
She said the expected hiring salary range will be included in the advertising pieces for the position and that she will collect salary information of the finalists.
The contract with The Novak Group calls for the City to pay $23,500 for the firm to "complete the city manager recruitment," plus $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.
Photo at top -- Catherine Tuck Parrish, right, makes a point at tonight's city manager recruitment plan meeting; at left is Dawn Fairbanks, City of Batavia HR specialist. Photo by Mike Pettinella.