Park City manager search, unexpectedly, fizzles
Ryan Summerlin December 19, 2012
The Park City Council has failed to agree on the hiring of either of the two finalists for the vacant city manager post, an unexpected fizzling in the search to fill the Marsac Building’s top staff position.
City Hall on Monday released a prepared statement indicating the search will be extended into 2013. It had been expected early on in the recruitment process that someone would be hired in December and start in January.
More than 90 people submitted applications for the position. Mayor Dana Williams said the elected officials interviewed seven of them in person and then reduced the field to two finalists.
"They were not close to unanimous on a decision," Williams said about the five-member City Council, adding, "Between the six of us, there was not overwhelming consensus on any candidate."
City Hall did not make public information about the finalists.
The prepared statement indicated the recruiter hired to assist with the process told officials hiring in an election year and as the holidays approach could be difficult.
The recruiter, Sacramento, Calif.-based Peckham & McKenney, told the officials people who were considering applying for the position saw the salary offered by City Hall as being low when compared to city manager jobs elsewhere.
The prepared statement said the City Council will reconsider the salary range for the city manager position. The elected officials will compare the salary with those paid in mountain resorts in the West. Housing costs in the region’s mountain resorts are typically significantly higher than similarly sized communities that are not resorts.
The city manager position’s salary range is currently budgeted at between $94,277 and $145,000. It is the highest salary in the City Hall staff hierarchy. Staffers are offered a benefits package that includes insurance and retirement plans as well.
The prepared statement said the City Council plans to reconsider the salary shortly, but it does not provide a precise timeline. A public hearing would be held prior to an increase being approved, it said. Williams said the current salary range "limited the pool" of people interested in applying for the job.
The recruitment that ended without a hiring was expected to cost upward of $25,000. Williams acknowledged that a second recruitment will push up the overall cost of the hiring. He said the elected officials must discuss the first attempt with the recruiter before deciding how to proceed.
The prepared statement outlined a timeline that restarts the recruitment effort in January followed by a hiring and then a starting date in the spring. Diane Foster will maintain her position as the interim city manager during the second recruitment. Her time in the interim position could stretch for more than six months if someone is not selected until the spring.
The elected officials are attempting to find a successor to Tom Bakaly, who stepped down as city manager after nearly nine years to become the top staffer in Hermosa Beach, Calif. They spent hours in closed-door meetings in recent weeks interviewing the finalists and discussing the selection.