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Who gets a peek at city manager finalists?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 by Jack Craver

City Council decided earlier this year that it was more likely to attract high-quality candidates for the now-vacant city manager position if it could promise applicants that their names would not be made public until and unless they accept the job. The idea was proposed by both the consultant hired to direct the search as well as citizen activists who said that the prospect of being revealed publicly as a finalist, as has been the case in the past, would turn off many qualified candidates who don’t want their current employer to know that they’re applying for another job. However, the proposed hiring process that the City Manager Search Advisory Task Force recently recommended to Council would allow members of the task force to meet the finalists and provide feedback to Council before it makes its final decision on who to hire. At a Tuesday work session, Council Member Ellen Troxclair said she didn’t see why members of the task force, which was originally set up to create a “profile” of an ideal candidate but not partake in picking one, need to interact with the job applicants. The new proposal appeared to be “reversing the decision to keep the process as confidential as possible,” said Troxclair. Human Resources Director Joya Hayes responded that the consultant, Russell Reynolds, had stressed the importance of keeping the names confidential but had signaled “openness” to including the task force in the process. Mayor Steve Adler similarly said that Reynolds had noted the “caliber” of the task force members in agreeing to their request to participate. Council is scheduled to vote on the task force recommendations on Aug. 10.

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