The town of Dillon is preparing to embark on a search for its next town manager, but a request Tuesday to outsource the project to a third party was denied by the town council.
Interim town manager Carri McDonnell presented town council members with the results of a recently advertised request for proposals during a Tuesday work session at Dillon Town Hall. McDonnell received three bids for the town manager search.
Among the bidding parties were Denver-based KRW Associates and Mountain States Employers Council Inc. The town also received a bid from the Mercer Group Inc., headquartered in Atlanta.
McDonnell recommended the town contract with KRW Associates because they came in with the lowest bid of $8,800 and had worked with the town on previous town manager and police chief searches in the past, most recently in 2012.
However, several town council members voiced their preference to conduct the search in-house, citing the cost of an executive search was an unplanned for and unbudgeted expense.
“I’d prefer to do it in-house because I think we’ll be able to do a better job finding a qualified candidate,” said Dillon Mayor Ron Holland.
But McDonnell, who has served as interim town manager on three previous occasions and has conducted multiple town manager searches during her 21 years with Dillon, said town staff has limited time to dedicate to a search, especially in regards to narrowing down an expected flood of applicants to a manageable pool of candidates. When Joe Wray was hired in April 2012, he was one of 87 applicants.
“I have a couple of concerns, one of them being staff time,” McDonnell said. “There just aren’t many more hours available in the day.
“Another concern is someone is going to have to conduct background investigations and those should not be done by an employee. We should not be conducting a background check of our new boss.”
Councilwoman Terry King was one of the few elected officials who sided with McDonnell, saying a third-party search would be an appropriate course of action considering the sudden and highly publicized departures of former town manager Joe Wray and former interim police chief Brian Brady.
“With the issues we’ve had lately, I think a disinterested third party would help convey to the public that we are trying to make a responsible decision,” King said.
McDonnell and King were in the minority and council directed staff to conduct the town manager search in-house.
McDonnell said Wednesday she has already drafted a job description for the position, which needs to be approved by town council. She plans to advertise the vacancy by April 1, if not sooner, and thinks July is a realistic goal for filling the position.