KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen got a crash course Thursday afternoon in the basic way a city goes about locating and hiring a new city manager.
Earlier this week, City Manager John Campbell announced his retirement effective July 2014. Campbell has held the top spot in the Model City since August 2006. During Tuesday night’s meeting, Campbell said one reason for announcing at this time is to give the BMA enough time to find a successor, given a typical search for a new city manager takes at least six months.
The BMA wasted little time in getting the ball rolling with Mayor Dennis Phillips asking Pat Hardy with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service to come to town and educate aldermen not familiar with the search process and answer any questions they may have.
Established in 1949 by the Tennessee General Assembly, MTAS provides technical advice and research to cities and towns across the state, on subjects including finance and accounting, human resources, legal assistance, municipal management and public works.
Hardy is a local MTAS representative who has assisted in a number of local city manager searches — Johnson City in 2001, Bristol, Tenn., in 2004 and Kingsport in 2006 when the BMA hired Campbell.
“The first step is to agree on how you want to do it,” Hardy said, passing out a basic outline of a possible selection process. Hardy said MTAS could conduct the search, a private search firm could be hired or Kingsport’s own human resource department could do it.
Hardy said private firms typically charge $15,000 to $20,000 to conduct a search, while MTAS would do it at no charge.
Once a process is selected, the BMA would need to agree on a job description or profile of the type of person they are looking for to run the city, then agree how broad the search should be — regional and statewide or include a national or possible worldwide search.
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