Roseville City Council moving forward in city manager search
George Fairbanks, Roseville Review, News Editor

The Roseville City Council held a brisk and harmonious meeting July 24 in which it instructed Eldona Bacon, the city's human resources director, to continue moving forward with a search to find a replacement for former city manager Neal Beets who resigned his position July 21 to take the same position in Federal Way, Wash.

At its July 17 meeting, the Council named Chris Miller, the city's finance director, as interim city manager.

On a 4-0 vote the Council approved a budget of $12,000 to allow city staff to move forward with Council direction to establish a "staff and external stakeholder committee to develop a profile and detailed timeline with Eldona Bacon as the project lead."

Council Member Tom Kough was not present at the meeting.

When Beets was hired in 2001 the search took about eight months, slightly longer than a typical search.

"The search generally takes approximately six months," Bacon told the Council Monday night.

At Monday's meeting, Bacon presented the Council with four options as to how to begin and conduct a search, had the Council not voted to accept the second option approving the $12,000 budget, it would have been left with three alternatives.

The first option would have instructed city staff to gather bids and select an experienced firm to conduct a national search for a new city manager.

With the third option the Council would "approve staff to gather internal applications for the position and conduct only an internal candidate search and hire from within."

The fourth and final option was the simplest and would have, after a wait of three to six months, and, if Miller was filling to role well, simply appointed him on a permanent basis.

Strong support for option two

Council Member Dean Maschka noted his belief the city should move forward with Miller on a permanent basis because Miller is a good fit and it would also save the city money by avoiding a national search.

"I actually prefer option four," Maschka said.

Council Member Tammy Pust also praised Miller.

"I too think Chris would be a great city manager," Pust said, before adding she still thinks the city should go through a search process.

Council Member Amy Ihlan reiterated her belied, stated in previous meeting, that the incoming Council should make the final decision. Ihlan is challenging Mayor Craig Klausing for his spot and Maschka is not seeking re-election to a fifth term, meaning the Council will have at minimum one new member in January.

"I still feel really strongly about that," Ihlan said, before adding she was also in favor of option two.

"I'm comfortable with option two as well," Klausing said, adding he thinks the Council might be wise to rely on Maschka's experiences with helping to hire the city's last two city managers.

In the future, the Council might also decide whether to re-write parts of the city manager's job description as well as increasing the position's base salary.

Bacon presented the Council with a list of several communities across the Twin Cities metro area that provided each community's city manager's salary.

The average salary range minimum for the city's on the list is $104,649. Roseville's salary minimum is $92,518. The average salary range maximum for the city's on the list is $126,587. Roseville's salary maximum is $111,467.

Staff ready to work

Bacon told the Council she thinks the staff is ready and able to move in any way the Council deems fit.

"We'll put forward the effort accordingly," Bacon said.

In an interview Tuesday, Bacon said she will likely present more information at the Aug. 14 Council meeting and hopes to get more directives as to how the Council would like the search to continue.

"I will try and come up with a timeline of things I need to do," Bacon said.

Until the Aug. 14 meeting, Bacon will spend time determining who needs to play a role in the search.

"I'll try to assess who are these stakeholder," Bacon said.

Bacon also said she will put together a profile of traits that would make a good candidate for Roseville.

Bacon added from the comments by the Council thus far, she expects their to be a thorough search for Beets' replacement.

Copyright 2006, Lillie Suburban Newspapers