Kay Stroman of The Stroman Group addresses the San Marcos City Council at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos City Council gave the green light to a 60-day search for a new city manager who is scheduled to be announced on Oct. 1, just one month before a potential new city council majority is elected.
By a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, the council selected the Stroman Group, LLC, of San Marcos to conduct the executive search for two council appointed positions – city manager and city clerk. Councilmembers Gaylord Bose and John Thomaides voted in opposition to the $20,000 agreement.
Thomaides, who is running for mayor, called the two-month timeline stipulated in the contract “troubling” and said the search should be allowed to extend past the November election. Thomaides went on to say that the new city manager “may want to know who they’re working for and (working) with.” Therefore, Thomaides said, a new city manager selection should be reserved until after the election, which could sit up to four new members on the seven-member council.
Councilmember Kim Porterfield, who is running for re-election to her seat, echoed Thomaides’ discomfort with a quick executive search, but added that the “timeline doesn’t really matter if we (the council) don’t support a candidate.”
Porterfield said that her concern on the timeline was alleviated after Kay Stroman of the Stroman Group said she would continue an executive search past the 60-day deadline should the council not be content with any of the proposed city manager candidates.
“What’s the reason for the rush?” asked concerned San Marcos resident Steve Harvey. “We have very able leadership in our two assistant city managers.”
Outgoing San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said the city is not rushing a search for the two appointed positions. Narvaiz said the council agreed in executive session on a 60-day timeline.
“Many of us felt we needed to expedite the process prior to the election,” Narvaiz said.
Harvey also took issue because the city’s Request For Proposal (RFP) in the executive search was not posted online and the council did not go through a competitive bid process.
“This is not being conducted properly,” Harvey said. “Mayor and city council, you may find a lot of citizens call for you to answer for your action on this.”
Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer said the city sent the RFP to firms that have been researched by the city, specifically during the early 2008 city manager search that ended with Rick Menchaca starting with the city in May of that year. The council fired Menchaca this June 24 by a 4-3 vote.
Councilmember Chris Jones, who voted to approve the contract, said he was “troubled” with spending up to $22,500, including expenses, on the search for a new city manager and city clerk. Jones asked why city staff couldn’t conduct the search and save taxpayer dollars.
Moyer said that due to staff shortages, including a vacant human resource director position, “it would be very difficult for (city) staff to take on that task.”
Carolyn Liner retired this year from the city’s human resource department.
The city also opened the potential city manager pool by revising the candidate profile to include candidates without city administration experience. Narvaiz said the process was opened so that chief executive officers (CEOs) in the private sector and executives also could seek the city manager position.
The Stroman Group has no experience in placing city managers, though it has placed CEOs and top level executives in the private sector.
In his opposition to the 60-day timeline, Thomaides a longer process is warranted because worthy candidates could miss the opportunity due to summer vacation and travel. Thomaides added that qualified city managers already employed elsewhere would wish to provide 30 days notice to their present employers if they were to be hired by San Marcos.
According to the contract timeline, the city council will have a special meeting on Aug. 10 to receive an update on the development of a candidate profile. The city took public input on the profile during a session Wednesday night. The deadline to for citizens to include their input through the city’s website is Friday.
The city manager position is scheduled to be posted on Aug. 11 and closed at 5 p.m. on Sept. 2. The council will review candidates and receive a search update from the consultant during a Sept. 7 executive session.
City Manager candidate interviews and tours of the city are scheduled for the week of Sept. 13 for three to five potential candidates. The list will then be narrowed down to two candidates. After a public meet and greet session, the city council will make a selection during the week of Sept. 20.
The city clerk position will also be posted on Aug. 11 and closed at 5 p.m. on Sept. 2. Candidates will be interviewed during the week of Sept. 13 week, and the council will make a selection during the week of Sept. 20.Email | Print