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Government Local

DeKalb approves hybrid city manager search

ecruitment firm based in Northbrook chosen to assist in the process

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith takes a roll call vote during Monday's DeKalb City Council meeting.
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith takes a roll call vote during Monday's DeKalb City Council meeting.

DeKALB – Although it would not be free, the DeKalb City Council reached consensus during Monday’s meeting that an effective city manager search is going to require outside help.

Therefore, the council unanimously approved moving forward with Northbrook-based GovHR USA under a hybrid model that would take advantage of the firm’s professional expertise while using internal resources.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said the whole council is cognizant about costs, but a recruitment firm is in the business of finding high-caliber candidates, which the city had to take into consideration.

“We’ll probably be spending somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 if we vote on the hybrid, which I think we have consensus on,” Smith said.

Smith, 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Fagan and human relations staff evaluated proposals from seven firms and narrowed it down to two: GovHR USA and Georgia-based Slavin Management Consultants.

A contract for GovHR USA’s services would come at a cost not to exceed $21,000 while Slavin Management Consultants’ services would be for no more than $25,219. DeKalb HR Director Cris Randall said the biggest difference in costs is the estimated manpower hours: 175 hours for GovHR and about 250 for Slavin.

Randall said she has spoken with both firms, and although they both are open to moving forward with the city under a hybrid model, one contract provision that might not be upheld is a two-year guarantee, which states that if the selected candidate leaves the city within two years, the firm would offer its services again at no cost.

In response to a question from 5th Ward Alderman Kate Noreiko about what in-house responsibilities the city would have under a hybrid model, Randall said once the foundation work of the search is complete, city staff could screen applications and bring them before the council, contact candidates, schedule interview logistics and provide background checks.

Second Ward Alderman Bill Finucane said he was concerned one of the city’s in-house duties would be pre-screening, which could mean the vetting of about 50 candidates assuming the same number of candidates are considered this year as four years ago.

Smith said he has heard a few local names floating around as potential city manager candidates, but so far, developer Jim Mason has been the only one to publicly announce his interest in the job.

Also, there might be a couple of people within city staff who are interested.

He said that the decision made by the council Monday will not affect local candidates’ ability to apply.

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