Bainbridge city manager search heads into candidate selection
By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 6, 2012 · Updated 2:40 PM
The search for the island's next city manager is entering its final phase.
Over August and September, the council will become more involved in the selection process for city manager candidates.
On Monday, Aug. 6, the council has called for a special meeting with Ron Holifield and Tom Muehlenbeck of Strategic Government Resources, the firm hired to find the next city manager.
The follow-up will cover the council's retreat in July that Holifield and Muehlenbeck led and covered strategic visioning for the council.
The meeting begins at 7:15 p.m., and after the council gets answers to follow-up questions from the retreat, council members will leave the public portion of the meeting for a closed-door executive session at 7:50 p.m. The council will meet in private for two hours to review candidates for the city manager position.
Roughly 40 people applied for the city manager job.
The council has narrowed the pack down to 14 candidates, and will pick semi-finalists during tonight's executive session.
Those candidates will undergo a more thorough background check, and will also be given a management assessment test.
The next meeting on the matter with Strategic Government Resources will be Tuesday, Sept. 4, where the council will again hold an executive session to select the final candidates for the executive position.
City officials have said applicants for the position have come from out-of-state, as well as Washington.
Candidates who make the cut will be invited for a community meeting on Sept. 18, which will be followed by an interview with the city council on Sept. 19.
The candidates will travel from their homes with their spouses, at city expense, to get a feel for the island and to meet with community members.
According to Councilwoman Anne Blair, the council hopes to offer the job to the top candidate by Wednesday, Sept. 26.
Finding the city's next manager has not come cheap.
The cost for finding a new city manager for the city of Bainbridge Island is expected to surpass $60,000 this week.
The Bainbridge Island City Council fired Brenda Bauer for undisclosed reasons from her top spot at city hall on March 14. The council then appointed Morgan Smith to the post as a acting city manager, and made her interim city manager in April as the search for a new manager continued.
The city council has already agreed to spend up to $250,000 on the search for a city manager.
According to the city's 2012 mid-year financial report, presented to the council last week, Bainbridge has spent $40,000 on expenses related to the city manager search through June 30.
Consultant bills received in July, and subsequent invoices that the council is expected to approve this week from Strategic Government Resources — the Texas-based headhunting company hired by the city that is leading the executive recruitment effort — show that the costs of the search now total more than $60,000.
Strategic Government Resources billed the city for $10,679 for work done on the search, which was paid by Bainbridge in early July, and also submitted an invoice for $10,679 in additional work on July 27.
According to the mid-year financial report, the city expects to spend the entire amount appropriated by the council for the search by the end of the year.
The $250,000 approved for the search includes the money that will be paid out as a severance package for the last city manager. Bauer's separation agreement guarantees her six months of salary, or $75,000, and including benefits, the total cost to the city for severance pay and benefits is estimated at approximately $102,000. The total includes federal taxes, retirement and health benefits.
With approximately $162,000 already committed to the search, the city has roughly $88,000 left to spend on recruiting the next city manager.Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 842-6613.