Shawnee taps firm for city manager search, hopes to have hire made by May

By Jerry LaMartina

The Shawnee City Council has unanimously chosen Springsted | Waters Executive Recruitment to conduct a search for a new city manager for a fee of $24,500 and to target the week of May 7 for the city to make an offer to a candidate.

The council approved hiring Springsted at its Monday night meeting. The firm is one of 11 executive search firms that submitted proposals to the city, according to a memo from Mayor Michelle Distler to the council.

According to Springsted’s written proposal, the firm’s services will include:

  • Video interviewing to screen semifinalists
  • Leadership-assessment testing of finalists
  • Vetting of finalists, including social media searches
  • Pursuit of a diverse range of candidates
  • Provision of an online candidate application and communication system

The city can choose additional services from Springsted at additional costs, including a web-based survey of community leaders, citizens and city employees for $2,000; and other services, including more than three on-site visits to the city, for $220 an hour plus expenses, with a written estimate provided by the firm before starting any additional services.

In a Jan. 12 letter to Distler as part of Springsted’s formal proposal, Senior Vice President Art Davis wrote:

“Finding candidates with the desired levels of experience and specific knowledge of local government management trends can sometimes be challenging. Of equal importance, we want to ensure that your next city manager is a ‘great fit’ for your organization and community. My background as a former city manager and nearly 13 years of experience in recruiting municipal executives and leaders around the country will provide valuable insight for the Shawnee Governing Body throughout this recruitment process.”

The council started its search for a new city manager when it authorized city staff at its Dec. 11 meeting to issue a request for proposals for executive search services, with a Jan. 12 deadline.

Former City Manager Carol Gonzales submitted her resignation letter to Mayor Michelle Distler on Oct. 9, saying she had accepted a job as director of finance and administration for the Mid-America Regional Council. Gonzales had worked on the city’s staff since 1998 and was named as city manager in 2005. Her final day as city manager was Nov. 15.

The council appointed Vicki Charlesworth as interim city manager on Nov. 6, and she started the job Nov. 16.

Springsted | Waters is a subsidiary of Springsted Inc., which is based in Saint Paul, Minn., and has regional offices in Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas; Chicago; Milwaukee; Des Moines; Richmond, Va.; Atlanta; and Denver.