Manager searches present tricky timing for Chandler, Gilbert - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Manager searches present tricky timing for Chandler, Gilbert

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Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2011 3:30 pm | Updated: 5:50 pm, Fri Sep 16, 2011.

Chandler is picking up the pace in its search for a city manager, and Gilbert has just started the formal selection process for a town manager.

The marketing for Chandler’s position should be finalized by the end of the week, with candidates identified and contacted starting next week, said Debra Stapleton, the city’s human resources director. The application deadline is March 18, with finalists interviewed by the City Council in April, and an appointment in May.

For now, those dates are in pencil, Stapleton said.

“Those time frames could slip, depending on how many candidates we get, how the advertising is done, and other kinds of factors,” Stapleton said. “But that is the initial schedule.”

Gilbert has selected an executive search firm, which will determine a timetable, said Ann Moeding-Evans, town human resources manager. An August appointment is the goal.

Last month, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis told the Tribune that the selection process should begin in March. That appears to remain the scheduled start, as Moeding-Evans called developments this month “very preliminary.”

This is an election year in Gilbert. Four Town Council seats are open, with the primary in March and general election in May. Typically, municipalities avoid making high-profile appointments just before a new Council takes over.

If Eddie Cook is elected in Gilbert, he would have a say in the manager hire — the new Council members are seated on June 23. But the Council challenger is stressing expediency, concerned that the town could receive competition from Chandler’s concurrent search.

“Chandler and Gilbert are going to be looking for the same guy,” Cook said. “Chandler has a head start on us, and I would like to get the best person before Chandler does. We are going to have to be aggressive and competitive about securing the person who will lead Gilbert through the future in a difficult time.”

Both Stapleton and Moeding-Evans were not worried about interference between Chandler and Gilbert.

“When you look for a city manager in one community, you’re looking for a set of characteristics that probably won’t be the same as those that you’d want in a different community,” Moeding-Evans said. “Each executive search needs to be based on what the community is looking for, and what fits good one place might not another. That’s just standard in the business.”

A municipal manager is the chief officer responsible for day-to-day operations and implementing council policies.

Sacramento, Calif.-based executive recruiter Stuart Satow interviewed Chandler City Council members, department directors and employee groups to determine ideal qualities in a manager candidate. Residents can also share input through today by e-mailing Satow at ssatow@cps.ca.gov.

Gilbert will have a similar process, Moeding-Evans said.

“There is definitely interest in getting input from the community,” she said.

An August appointment date in Gilbert might result in another extension for interim town manager Collin DeWitt, whose contract expires in June.

CONTACT WRITER: (480) 898-6301 or dzeiger@evtrib.com

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