Midtown Raleigh News

Minnesota headhunters to get $25,000 to run Raleigh city manager search

A national headhunter will help Raleigh find a new city manager to replace the ousted Russell Allen.

The City Council on Monday hired Minnesota-based search firm Springsted to oversee the hiring process. Springsted estimates it will charge the city around $25,000 to recruit candidates, sift through applications and oversee the interview process.

The firm was chosen from a list of 13 that submitted proposals for the job. Springsted had the second highest price quote, with the lowest coming in at $15,000.

Human Resources Director Stephen Jones said Springsted was the most qualified. “They got glowing references,” he said. “They seem to have a broader depth of access … to connect with candidates who might not really be looking.”

Councilman Bonner Gaylord said he thinks Raleigh is getting a good deal for the service. “I’m honestly surprised at how reasonable it is,” he said.

The process will be led by John Anzivino, a senior vice president at Springsted who has 22 years of experience as a city and county manager in Virginia. The firm has handled manager searches recently in Guilford County and Salisbury in North Carolina and in Newport News, Va.; it’s logged 300 executive searches in the past decade.

Springsted’s contract will include an extensive background check on finalists and sending staff to conduct on-site interviews at a candidate’s current workplace. Raleigh could also send council members to the potential new manager’s city.

Springsted will repeat the search at no extra cost if the hire doesn’t work out – if, for example, the manager quits or gets fired with cause in the first two years in Raleigh.

It’s still unclear whether finalists’ names will be released to the public, as they were when the city hired a police chief earlier this year. Some of Springsted’s earlier searches have named finalists, while others remained confidential throughout the process.

Springsted expects to make a hire by Oct. 1, the deadline set by the City Council to have a manager in place before municipal elections. Jones says the search firms were initially leery of such a short time frame – then they learned Raleigh leaders had already developed a list of necessary qualifications and challenges the new manager will face.

“When we get to that point, we expect a fee reduction,” Jones said.

Raleigh’s council will sign off on the final contract with Springsted on Monday.