City manager search appears nowhere close to ending
It is approaching six months since Tom Bakaly, the Park City manager for nearly nine years, exited the Marsac Building to become the top staffer at beach city in Southern California.
And Park City leaders do not appear anywhere close to hiring a permanent city manager to succeed Bakaly. Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council, who are leading the efforts to hire the next city manager, have released little information in the last two months. A second recruitment following an unsuccessful first one has not started.
The permanent city manager position, it seems, will sit unfilled for at least another few months based on the time the first recruitment took. It also seems possible that it could be toward midyear by the time a permanent city manager has been hired and has started the job in Park City.
In the first attempt to hire a successor, the recruiter outlined a 16-week process to make an offer to a candidate. The recruiter was hired in late August. The search fizzled in mid-December when the elected officials decided not to hire either of the two finalists.
Diane Foster, who had been the deputy city manager under Bakaly, has been the interim city manager since his departure. She pledged early on that City Hall would not fall behind on municipal business without a permanent city manager, and there have not been complaints that it has.
But the city manager post, given its broad duties, is a job that the elected officials likely want filled on a permanent basis. It appears that a permanent city manager will not be on staff during the critical early weeks of the budget talks in the spring. It is also possible that the person might not start until after the budget is approved, typically in June. There are also ongoing discussions about the future of the Sundance Film Festival as well as about the Treasure development, among other issues.
The mayor declined to discuss the search in any depth early in the week. Williams and the City Council have been hesitant to release details throughout the process. State law allows elected officials to discuss personnel matters in closed-door sessions.
Williams said he anticipates information will be made public by the end of February. He said City Hall plans to conduct a national search for the next city manager. He did not outline a timeline.
In the meantime, the elected officials could be discussing a redone compensation package for the city manager position. The salary range for the position sits at between $94,277 and $145,000. The recruiter told the mayor and City Council some people who were considering applying for the job saw the salary range as low when compared to similar positions elsewhere.
Williams declined to disclose details about compensation discussions. The results of the talks could be some of the details released later in February. A public hearing would be held before the City Council would vote to increase the compensation for the city manager position.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.