Bellevue company hired to help find next Bainbridge city attorney

The city of Bainbridge Island has chosen a different company to work as the headhunter for the city's next major hire.

The Bainbridge council unanimously gave the green light on a consultant contract for Victoria Harris, Inc. at the council meeting Monday.

Victoria Harris is a Bellevue-based executive search consultant, and Harris will be in charge of finding Bainbridge's next city attorney.

Bainbridge has been without a permanent city attorney since the resignation of Will Patton in November 2012. Jim Haney has since been serving as interim city attorney.

City Manager Doug Schulze told the council Monday that in the case of the city attorney search, the city will require more than searching for jobseekers.

Strategic Government Resources has long been the city's go-to company on executive level searches. The Texas-based company has been used several times in the past year to fill positions such as city manager, police chief and public works director, and focuses on advertising and locating qualified applicants who are searching for a job.

This time, however, the city needs a company that can conduct a more targeted search, Schulze said.

"We didn't really feel that was going to be a successful approach for the city attorney position because it's a specialized position and a lot of the search firms that typically work for cities don't have expertise in legal counsel or city attorney searches," Schulze said.

"We went with an approach where we were looking for someone that would go out and actually recruit for this position. So rather than a search, this is more of a recruitment process," he said.

Harris is expected to charge the city between $35,400 to $44,400 — equal to 30 percent of the hiring salary of the new attorney — for her work.

"We feel that it's real important for the city attorney to have a certain amount of experience and expertise. This is a complex organization and we really do need someone that has significant city attorney experience," Schulze said.

"We can't necessarily take someone and groom them in this position like we might be able to with some other positions," he added. "Our approach is we really need to have someone go out and recruit people that might not even be looking (for a job) at this point."

The city attorney is responsible for planning, directing and supervising legal services for the city. The city attorney also provides legal counsel to the city manager, city council members, staff and citizen committees and commissions. Other duties include drafting and interpreting city ordinances and resolutions and negotiating contracts and agreements with outside governmental agencies and vendors.

The city attorney position has a salary range of $118,000 to $148,000, which represents and increase in pay from when the city previously posted the job. Earlier, the city expected to pay its new attorney between $110,316 to $138,324 annually.

The position now carries a salary range of $118,000 to $148,000.

Harris has estimated that the search will take about three months from the start of the recruitment process until the final candidate's acceptance of a job offer.

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