Janesville58.7°

City manager search to start over

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Ryan Dostalek
July 17, 2008
— The city probably won’t have a new manager in place before Steve Sheiffer retires Sept. 5, Council President Amy Loasching said.

Two finalists for the position didn’t impress city council members during Wednesday’s second round of interviews.


“After another night of healthy debate, we’ve instructed the (recruiting firm) to continue the search,” Loasching said. “But we don’t anticipate to be able to have a city manager selected by September.”


The council Wednesday afternoon met again with David Hales, the director of financial/administrative services in West Jordan, Utah, and with Donald Carlsen, the director of the management services businesses group in Naperville, Ill.


Both men had been interviewed earlier by a panel of community members and by the council.


The council Wednesday night discussed their impressions from the second round of interviews.


Loasching said nothing specific eliminated either of the men from consideration, although she said both the council and the community panel were split on whom to choose.


“Input from the community panel was divisive; the council was divided,” Loasching said.


So, it’s back to the drawing board.


PAR Group, the Illinois recruiting firm hired by the city for the manager search, will return to the 39 applications received in the first round of recruiting and advertising and look for potential candidates. Excluded, however, will be the five candidates the council interviewed and rejected.


Any applicants who withdrew their applications will be contacted to see if they now have an interest.


The council might meet with the recruiting firm in August. If not, Loasching said the council wouldn’t be worried.


Loasching said the firm will keep the council updated on the search, but she emphasized that there is no timeline for a decision.


“We sent the message that if (the firm) doesn’t have a minimum of three extremely qualified candidates, we don’t want to see them,” she said.


The hiring process will be the same.


Loasching said candidates will get initial interviews with the same community panel. Council members then will interview candidates, hear feedback from the community panel, invite candidates for second interviews and, if a candidate sticks out, visit the candidate’s community before making an offer.


“We value (the community panel’s) opinion, and we hope it will continue to help in the selection process,” Loasching said.


The council doesn’t feel pressure to fill the job before Sheiffer leaves in September, Loasching said.


If a new city manager isn’t in place by Sept. 5, the council has three options:


-- Hire an interim city manager.


-- Appoint a department head to act as interim city manager.


-- Leave the city manager position open and have department heads run the city.


“We want to make sure we’re not only confident in the person we choose but enthusiastic about them,” Loasching said.


“We know we’re not going to get a perfect fit, but we don’t want to settle.”


SEARCH TIMELINE

Jan. 28, 2008—City Manager Steve Sheiffer announces he will retire in September.


Feb. 25—City council hires Illinois-based PAR Group as hiring firm.


March 31—PAR Group accepts public input into what qualifies as a city manager.


April 8—Salary set for new manager at around $140,000, depending on experience.


June 22—Field narrowed from 39 applications to six candidates.


June 25—One of the six drops out, bringing the field to five.


June 30—Sheiffer solidifies retirement date as Sept. 5.


Friday—Council appoints community panel of eight residents to interview the candidates.


Monday and Tuesday—Round one of interviews with community panel and city council.


Wednesday—Second interviews for two finalists with city council. Council decides to start the process over.


August—Council plans to meet with PAR Group to review new candidates.


Sept. 5—Sheiffer scheduled to retire.



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