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Lewis criticizes city manager process

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 by Jo Clifton

Attorney Fred Lewis has added his name to the list of people critical of how the city is going about searching for a new city manager. Last week, the Austin Monitor had comments from retired Adm. Bob Inman and former Texas Monthly publisher Mike Levy, who both said the city should have sought services of the four largest executive search firms in the country. However, the request for qualifications went out to more than 600 firms, but not to those particular companies. On Monday, Lewis sent an email urging people to contact City Council and tell them to start over on the process. He wrote, “It appears that this mangled hiring process discouraged the best search firms from applying. We need a first-class search firm that has the connections and expertise to recruit the best candidates, whether from local, state or federal government, large non-profit organizations, or business – and not mediocre assistant city manager candidates from second tier cities. Austin needs world-class management, which requires a first-class national search firm.” Although Lewis’ email indicates that Council might make a decision at today’s meeting, that decision is actually scheduled for the regular Council meeting on Thursday. Staff is recommending Ralph Andersen & Associates of California. According to its website, the company is offering career opportunities for people wanting to serve as city manager in Belvedere, Sacramento and Auburn in California, as well as in Reno, Nevada. Andersen is also advertising for police chiefs for various cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, California, among others. The list does not include city manager jobs for any large cities, however.

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