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City Manager Search Narrows

POSTED July 6, 2011 1:02 a.m.
Weeding out a list that started with 23 possible names for Oakdale’s part-time city manager, the city council’s ad-hoc committee has narrowed down the choices from 16 potential applicants to two serious considerations and is now weighing the qualifications and fit of a potential candidate.
“It’s going to be very difficult to find a quality applicant given our ability to pay and their salary demands,” said Ad Hoc Committee Member and Councilman Jason Howard.
The city is looking for a part-time, 20-hour per week city manager to lead the 20,000 population, 5.6 square mile city and its 100 city employees.
The city is offering to pay approximately $75,000 per year with no benefits for the part-time position.
The ad hoc committee appointed by the council consisted of Howard, Councilman Michael Brennan, Police Detective and Oakdale POA President Brian Shimmel, and Oakdale Development Services Director Danelle Stylos.
“Personally, I think city managers are paid too much for what they do,” said Howard. “I’ve been observing the role of city manager since I’ve been elected, and I haven’t observed anything too magical.”
Howard said some of the criteria for the search were prior city manager experience and retired out of the PERS system so the city would have no need to pay into any retirement or medical benefit plans.
“Today, I don’t see the concept of needing a city manager with city manager experience as the best route to go,” said Howard. “We’re re-looking at the entire way of doing things so we can get by with a halftime position.”
The committee solicited names and applications and tapered down the list of names looking at tenure, the type of city the candidate managed, and other factors to fit the person with Oakdale.
Howard said he also checked backgrounds of some of the applicants using Google and other computer public data base resources.
According to Howard the committee narrowed down the search to two potential individuals, but one of the candidates was hired by an outside city during the process.
Howard declined to name the one city manager candidate remaining, but said the person had over 30 years of government experience and has served in the capacity as a city manager, county administrator, and assistant county administrator.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola said that one unnamed candidate visited the chamber and inquired how local businesses were received in the city. She said the candidate showed interest in the types of businesses in the city, the perspective of tourism, and the interactions of the community and current council.
“It’s important to have candidates for city management positions to contact the chamber for the private sector perspective,” Guardiola said.
Since the list is down to one person, Howard said that final ad-hoc committee interviews will be foregone and the city council will take over in the interview process. The interview was slated for the July 5 city council meeting and later in the week if required.
“I think more than one interview may be necessary,” said Howard. “There are a lot of factors to consider before coming to a decision.”
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