Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh seeks search firm to find new city manager

City leaders are expected Monday to hire a search firm to help find Raleigh’s next city manager, replacing the ousted Russell Allen.

The city council wants professional help to conduct a national search, and so far more than 13 firms have offered their services, according to a recent memo from human resources director Stephen Jones. Jones said his staff is reviewing the proposals and will offer a recommendation to the council during a special meeting Monday.

Chief Financial Officer Perry James is serving as Raleigh’s interim city manager, and the council members want a permanent hire in place before the October elections. They recently drafted a two-page candidate profile detailing the type of leader the city wants.

The profile – based in part on survey responses from residents and city employees – calls for the new manager to have served “an organization with a council-manager form of government and demonstrated the skills of prioritizing projects and resources while communicating ideas, issues and results on a timely basis.”

The council wants someone with at least 10 years of city or county government experience, with five years as a “senior level executive.” Anyone from a community with financial troubles need not apply: Raleigh wants its new leader to come from an agency with a AAA bond rating.

Raleigh leaders don’t want a manager who has worked exclusively in the private sector, though the criteria says a stint outside of government “is considered to be positive.”

And don’t expect the new manager to hail from a small town, either. The criteria call for experience overseeing a budget of at least $250 million. Raleigh’s budget, by comparison, is $705 million this year. The candidates will also need experience in developing a formal strategic plan.

The criteria – along with a two-page job description – will go to a search firm “to use as their guide to recruit and screen candidates,” Jones wrote in the memo.

In drafting the criteria, council members discussed whether the new manager should have expertise with Raleigh’s upcoming issues, such as the need to expand the water supply. “It’s always good for people to have experience in what they’re managing, regardless,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said.

But Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin countered that the new manager would “not necessarily be an expert in certain fields” to be successful.