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Mill Creek City Council to kick off new city manager search

After a series of public and private discussions in November and December, the Mill Creek City Council will kick off their search for a new city manager on Monday, December 10, 2018. Each councilmember will be interviewed on Monday so that a candidate profile can be developed.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

After a series of public and private discussions in November and December, the Mill Creek City Council will kick off their search for a new city manager on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Drew Gorgey, the Peckham & McKinney head hunter who will be conducting the search, will interview each councilmember individually on Monday so that he can develop a tailored city manager candidate profile for his search.

Gorgey will also interview city staff and other stakeholders that week to help him understand Mill Creek’s unique culture, current and future issues, goals, and expectations.

He plans to have a draft candidate profile finished and ready for council approval in mid-December and to start advertising for Mill Creek city manager candidates soon after.

The Mill Creek City Council authorized Interim City Manager Bob Stowe to negotiate a professional service agreement with Peckham & McKinney to perform the search for a new city manager at their November 27th meeting.

Peckham & McKinney will be paid $25,000 plus expenses to fill the city manager vacancy and guarantee that the successful candidate will satisfactorily stay on the job for at least one and a half years.

Their guarantee states, “In the unlikely event, however, that a candidate recruited and recommended by our firm leaves your employment for any reason within the one and a half years (except in the event of budgetary cutbacks, promotion, position elimination, or illness/death), we agree to provide a one-time replacement at no additional charge, except expenses.”

At the past couple of city council meetings, a number of councilmembers expressed their concerns that qualified city manager candidates may not apply for the job for two reasons.

First, Mill Creek city councils have a track record of firing multiple city managers in past years.

Second, it’s possible that as many as five city councilmembers will be replaced year after next because they are up for reelection in 2019.

At the November 27th meeting and again at the December 4th meeting Councilmember Mike Todd suggested holding off the city manager search and keeping Stowe in the leadership position for nine more months.

Todd explained staff are very happy with Stowe’s leadership. He also said he believes councilmembers, city staff, and the community would like to see some stability after the difficulties caused by Rebecca Polizzotto’s termination this year.

At the December 4th city council meeting Gorgey encouraged the city council to continue with his city manager recruitment.

He assured the city council that all city managers know that their bosses, the city councilmembers, may change every two years. He said it goes with the job and candidates expect this situation.

Gorgey also commented that Mill Creek is not the only municipality to have higher turnover than typical in the city manager position.

He went on to say that he is completely confident that he can hit the ground running to find Mill Creek’s next city manager.

After some discussion, the Mill Creek City Council voted 5-2 to continue the city manager recruitment, with Mayor Pam Pruitt, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Holtzclaw, Councilmember Vince Cavaleri, Councilmember Mark Bond, and Councilmember John Steckler voting to continue the process.

Councilmember Todd and Councilmember Jared Mead voted to hold off on the recruitment and to extend Stowe’s contract for another nine months.

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