Six firms offer to help Danville find its next city manager

Published 11:24 pm Thursday, July 18, 2019

The City of Danville received proposals from six different firms interested in helping it find a new city manager. Current City Manager Ron Scott is retiring at the end of the year. 

The city commission heard the qualifications of each firm during a special-called meeting Wednesday afternoon, including cost of services. Scott gave a brief overview, offering to the commission a “proposed evaluation form” for each of the six firms. The form shows seven areas of concern and a rating system of points to grade with. 

The seven areas are; firm’s experience in city recruitments; project director qualifications; support team qualifications; recruitment reach/scope; candidate recruitment/evaluation process; cost of services; and guarantees the firm provides. 

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In describing the ideal situation, Scott said the “project director” would not only have a background in recruiting city government positions, “but had worked in a sizable community as a city manager, assistant (city) manager or significant level in city or county government experience. They would know the qualities you’re seeking.” 

One of the firms that submitted a proposal doesn’t have that background, but Scott said they have “specialized degrees in data management, a long track record in being successful as making those placements.” 

He also suggested rating the firms on the qualifications of the “other personnel that may be assigned to assist the project director.” Scott said each proposal showed at least two additional people helping the recruiter, and “they should have similar qualifications.” 

“Cost is certainly a factor,” and when reviewing the proposals, commissioners should be aware of exactly what the city is paying for, and check to make sure there are not a lot of “a la carte” items not included in the basic cost, he said.

Some firms guarantee their placements for a specific duration, and if the candidate is dismissed with cause, the search will be repeated for free, but there will be a charge for any out-of-pocket expenses the firm incurs, Scott said. He also said some firms include written agreements that the firm will not attempt to “poach” the candidate they placed within a certain time period, meaning they won’t contact them about another position. 

“Some tout their ability to use media and new ways of communication” for recruiting purposes, Scott said. “Many of them do make points that the best qualified people aren’t looking for work; they’re working.” 

The firms and costs associated with services are: 

  • S. Renee Narloch & Associates (Florida) — $16,450 plus expenses, not to exceed $7,500
  • GovHR USA (Illinois) — $15,000, expenses not to exceed $4,500
  • Slavin Management Consultants (Georgia) — $15,855, expenses not to exceed $7,500
  • Ralph Anderson & Associates (California) — $35,000 fixed fee (no expenses) 
  • Novak Consulting Group (Ohio) — $22,000 fixed fee 
  • The Mercer Group (Georgia and New Mexico) — $15,000, expenses not to exceed $6,000

City commission will meet again just before the regular meeting on Monday to review and discuss each member’s top firm picks. 

“Monday’s discussion will likely result in a smaller number of firms being considered ‘finalists’ for the work,” Scott said after the meeting. Those finalists will then be interviewed via Skype on July 24, and a firm will be selected after. 

“The single firm selected will be invited for a personal interview with the city commission in early August, to confirm the contract details and to begin work.”

Wednesday, Scott told the commission that ultimately, he thinks any of the firms “would do a fine service;” it’s more about what process they prefer. 

City Attorney Stephen Dexter said he wanted to point out the timeline of the whole effort. The commission decided it wanted to take the proposals home to “digest” over the weekend before Monday’s special meeting. 

Dexter said he encouraged “swift resolution,” and the commission should remind itself every time it meets not only what the next step is, but the step after that.