Cary Town Council members took another step in selecting a new town manager Tuesday at a work session.
Renee Poole, the town’s director of human resources, contacted two recruiting firms to help the town conduct a national search for a new manager. Ben Shivar, who has been town manager since 2009, announced his retirement in mid-June. Shivar will leave the job Sept. 30.
At the work session, council members reviewed a job description for the firms to use as a guide in selecting candidates.
The companies, Springsted Inc. and Development and Associates, will have 30 minutes each on Aug. 6 to present proposals to the council.
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Mayor Pro Tem Jack Smith said he cares less about a strong resume, and said he wants to see someone with strong leadership skills. The job requirements are a good start, he said.
“To me they’ve got 30 minutes to earn my trust and confidence in them to do the job,” Councilman Don Frantz added.
Councilwoman Lori Bush laughed when she noticed one of the job requirements is “must be able to perform sedentary work.”
Poole said a timeline for hiring a new town manager would be part of the firms’ proposals.
Land development matters
The council also reviewed several topics concerning land development. Two of the items, one concerning the density of developments and another about connectivity rules for developers, should go to public hearing in September.
There was debate at the meeting over the connectivity rules. Current rules dictate that developers are required to join new roads with streets in adjacent subdivisions. The idea behind the rules is to promote public transit and connect neighborhoods.
But the council has heard complaints that such connections between neighborhoods are not always appropriate.
The council voted to accept an option that would recategorize existing neighborhoods into three tiers, each with specific requirements for connecting to other roads. The third tier is defined as having no public safety issues if there is no road connection. In those cases, a connection might not be required.
There was some confusion among council members about which tiers certain neighborhoods would fall into. There were also concerns that residents are being misled about whether their residential roads are supposed to be connected when they moved in.
Frantz said neighborhoods that are “designed for connectivity should ultimately have it.”
Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson also expressed frustration over residents who plead ignorance about new connections that are clearly intended to be there.
“What makes me angry is when citizens say, ‘I bought this property, I had no idea this would ever be connected,’” she said.
The council ultimately agreed in a 4-2 vote to accept the tiered approach. Frantz and Councilman Ed Yerha voted in opposition. Yerha said he doesn’t think the tiered approach would change much in how the connectivity rules worked.
“Do we like the way things are now?” Yerha asked his colleagues. “Some of us don’t.”