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Tacoma prepares for city manager search

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
July 22, 2011 11:38 am

Tacoma is about to start its search for a new city manager.

Staff in the city personnel office are finishing up a request for bids from search firms that could go out today.

The search is expected to start in August and cost as much as $50,000, Human Resources Director Joy St. Germain told the council, which hopes to wrap it up by the end of the year.

To find managers in the past, Tacoma has turned to such national headhunters as Arcus Public and Waters-Oldani Executive Recruitment Group.

The city could have chosen to do the search for Eric Anderson’s replacement in-house, but council members and St. Germain said a national firm would do a better job.

“These firms specialize in hiring people, and they know who’s out there, and they know who will be a good fit for the city,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said, “and so I think it’s important for us to make sure that we  cast a wide net and have an opportunity to get the best person here.”

A committee including Strickland and council members Jake Fey and either Spiro Manthou or Lauren Walker will choose a company, tentatively by mid-August.

Before interviewing candidates, the city plans a community outreach effort similar to 2005 when Anderson was hired. An online survey will ask Tacomans about such topics as:

  • What the city should accomplish over the next five years.
  • What the top three priority items should be for the next city manager in his or her first year.
  • What management style the city manager should have.

Council members showed Anderson the door last week and made Rey Arellano interim city manager. Arellano says he would like to apply for the job.

Arellano said two other employees would move up on an interim basis to fill his old duties. Tansy Hayward will be acting deputy city manager and Michelle Lewis-Hodges will be acting chief information officer.

UPDATE 7/22: You can see the request for bids here.

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