Columbia City Council closer to select hiring firm to find new city manager

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COLUMBIA - Council members agreed to narrow down the number of hiring companies who applied to be in charge of searching for the new city manager by the end of the week. 

The following firms submitted an application to be in charge of the search process:

  • EFL Associates
  • Serpico Talent Solutions
  • The Novak Consulting Group
  • Strategic Government Resources
  • Springsted Waters Executive Recruitments
  • Management Partners
  • CPS HR Consulting
  • GovHR USA
  • Slavin Management Consultants

Instead of coming up with a list of three or four finalists, council members decided to rank the companies, individually, and send that information to human resources by Wednesday. 

Mayor Brian Treece said the hiring firm would help combine the input of all council members on what they are looking for in the next city manager. 

Treece also said the council is looking for a firm who would also incorporate the citizens' input into the hiring process. 

"We have a very engaged citizenry here that wants to have an input on how we select the next city manager," he said. "One of the questions I have is what is that public input process, how  are we going to gather that public input and communicate that to the city council."

In selecting a hiring firm, Treece said he is considering who each firm would gather as potential candidates for the city manager job. 

"To me, that's probably a city manager of a town that has slightly smaller population than Columbia that is looking to move up or perhaps the deputy city manager of a city with a larger population," he said. 

At a Nov. 26 council special meeting, Margrace Buckler with the city's Human Resources Department said the hiring firm would take care of background checks, interviews, contract negotiation and employment agreement. 

It would also create a report with a smaller pool of recommended candidates for the council to choose from.  

In 2005 and 2010-11, the city used an external hiring firm to hire a city manager. The last search cost Columbia $26,000.

Buckler said the current search for a city manager could cost between $20,000 - $30,000.

On Jan. 3, council members would conduct closed meetings with three or four hiring firms. From those companies, council members would also choose one firm to hire. 

After that, city council would vote on a resolution to approve the contract with a hiring firm at the Jan. 21 meeting. 

Mike Matthes announced his resignation on Nov. 20. Six days later, city council authorized a mutual severance agreement with Matthes and appointed John Glascock as interim city manager. 

Matthes served as city manager since May 1, 2011.