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Three out-of-state companies offer to help Bainbridge Island find new city manager

Three headhunter firms from outside Washington state have offered to help the city of Bainbridge Island find a new city manager.

Though Bainbridge had originally planned to keep its current city manager in place during the search for a new top executive, the city council, on a 4-3 vote last week, fired Brenda Bauer from her job as city manager.

City officials put out an earlier call for companies interested in finding a new manager, and three companies responded by the March 17 deadline.

The prospective consultants are Affion Public, an executive search firm in Harrisburg, Pa.; the Waters Consulting Group, Inc. of Dallas, Texas; and Neher & Associates of West Sacramento, Calif.

Suggested search fees, before expenses, from the three firms range from $12,000 to $21,500.

Bainbridge expects to hire a company to do the search by March 30. The council is expected to get an update on the search process at its meeting Wednesday.

Affion Public helped the city of Tacoma find an assistant director of finance in 2009, and an assistant city manager in 2006. The company also found a planning director for Bellevue, Wash. and Eugene, Ore. in 2010.

The company also conducted a city manager search for the cities of Austin and San Marcos, Texas in 2008. Recently, it assisted the city of Hollywood, Fla. in recruiting a city manager. The company also worked with the mayor of Round Rock, Texas, in that city's search for a new city manager.

In its proposal, Affion Public said the search fee for a city manager would be $15,000 for a full executive search, with expenses not to exceed $5,000.

The Walters Consulting Group has found city managers for the cities of Baytown and Fort Worth, Texas; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Sanford, Fla.; and Maricopa, Ariz.

The Walters Consulting Group has proposed an all-inclusive fee of $21,500.

Neher & Associates is currently completing a chief of staff search for the King County Council. According to the company's submittal package, it has conducted more than 240 executive searches for city and county governments.

Recent work by the firm includes the search for a city manager in Eugene; Brunswick, Ohio; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Richmond, Calif.; and Crystal Lake, Ill.

Neher & Associates said it can do the city manager search for a "reduced fee" of $12,000 — "given current budget/financial considerations for most public agencies today" — with expenses not to exceed $5,000.

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