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Tacoma: City hires Florida head hunter to lead search for new city manager

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Sep. 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
September 20, 2011 2:46 pm

A Florida-based head-hunting firm will help Tacoma find its next city manager.

Colin Baenziger & Associates, an executive recruiting firm from Wellington, Fla., was chosen from about 10 bidders vying for the city’s contract to lead the nationwide search to hire the city’s new chief executive.

Baenziger, a former local government administrator who serves as his company’s namesake and president, signed a $22,500 contract with the city on Monday, he said.

He began work today, meeting with city staff, council members and other stakeholders to better understand the city and its issues.  The initial meetings will help Baenziger set an official search schedule and draft a formal job announcement to be published by Oct. 1, he said.

With Tacoma ranking as the 100th largest city in the nation, Baenziger expects the city manager’s job opening will draw 80 to 150 applicants.

“There’ll be strong interest,” he said. “This is the kind of job that’s a capstone to a career.”

From the applicants’ pool, Baenziger said he’ll likely recommend about 10 candidates, then conduct more intensive background searches and interviews.

“Normally, we’ll recommend about eight candidates and then let the (city) council decide from there,” he said.

In all, the process typically takes about three months, Baenziger said. The City Council is tentatively set to interview finalists the week of Dec. 9 and make a final selection on Dec. 12. A formal contact usually takes about a month or so to negotiate, he added.

Other cities that have used Baenziger’s recruitment services since he founded his firm in 1998 include Portland, Maine; Greensboro, NC; Yakima and Fife, he said.

The city is searching for a new chief administrator after the council fired former City Manager Eric Anderson in July, and named his deputy, Rey Arellano, as interim city manager.  Arellano said last week he intends to apply for the permanent job when it’s posted.

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