After a four-month-long national search to find Cary’s new town manager, the Town Council decided Monday to start the process over after not coming to a unanimous decision on any of the three finalists.
The council met for about two hours in closed session Monday during a special meeting to discuss the search. According to a statement provided Tuesday morning, members agreed it is in the “organization and community’s best interest” to conclude the current recruitment process and begin a new search.
The council instructed town staff to work with consultants Waters and Company Executive Recruitment, a Dallas-based firm conducting the search, to begin the new search immediately to replace longtime Town Manager Ben Shivar, who retired Sept. 30.
“We are looking for the best fit possible,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said in an interview. “We wanted all the council members to agree on the candidate that would be selected, (and) we didn’t reach that point.”
The decision came after the council spent more then 10 hours last week in closed session conducting interviews with three finalists, including one internal candidate and one out-of-state candidate, and discussing its options.
Those three finalists came from a list of recommended candidates, which were provided after Waters and Company went through 42 applications. Initial interviews were conducted with six finalists in mid-November.
Relaunching the search is not expected to cost the town more money. The town’s $23,500 contract with Waters and Company will be billed in phases. Human Resources Director Renee Poole said the town already has paid $14,100. The town will not have to pay in full until a candidate accepts an offer from the town.
Weinbrecht said the council will meet with the consultants early next year to decide how to proceed. It also could include making any changes to the job description and advertising of the position.
“Personally, I feel there may be some tweaks but nothing major,” Weinbrecht said.
In the meantime, Deputy Town Manager Mike Bajorek, who applied for the permanent position, will continue serving as interim town manager.
“While we were hoping to have a town manager by the end of the year, it’s more important to get the right person,” Weinbrecht said.
Weinbrecht wrote about the search on his weekly mayor’s blog.
“While I can’t disclose what we talked about, I can say that each and every member of the council was fully engaged and passionate on making sure we got the best person for the job,” he wrote. “I can assure everyone that we left no stone unturned as we evaluated, in great detail, each of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon