VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE SPECIAL MEETING COUNCIL MINUTES August 2, 2005
CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Robertson at 6:05 pm)
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Those responding to the roll call were Councilmembers Hartfield, Herman, and OKeefe, Vice Mayor Lucier, Mayor Robertson and Law Director Crites.
Councilmember Herman moved to excuse Councilmembers Main and Barsky. Second by Vice Mayor Lucier. Motion carried (5-0).
APPROVAL OF AGENDA (6:07 pm) Councilmember OKeefe moved to accept the agenda. Second by Councilmember Herman. Motion carried (5-0).
EXECUTIVE SEARCH FIRM PROPOSALS The Mercer Group, Inc. Thomas Dority, Senior Vice President and Sue Gapter-Dority, Vice President. Mr. Dority provided a handout to Council. A copy of the handout is available as part of these minutes.
Mr. Dority stated that they are very pleased to be given consideration to assist the Village in the recruitment for a new Village Manager. He stated that they are a nationwide search firm that almost exclusively serves municipalities and non-for-profit organizations. He stated that they have a consortium of independent consultants that they work with. Mr. Dority stated that the Village should consider the trust and confidence they will gain in the personal services the Mercer Group can offer. He stated that they do not have junior associates who do the actual work, it is exclusively Sue and himself. Mr. Dority went on to say that they are interested to gain their knowledge from whatever group Council would like them to talk to. Mr. Dority stated that Council is welcome to view a complete list of City and County Managers that they have placed in years past, and he added that 90% of these people are still holding the position during the last five years. Mr. Dority stated that they have done recent searches for chief administrators for the following cities: Kent, Ohio; Joplin, MO; Jackson, MI; Hudson, Ohio; and Boulder, CO. He stated that they guarantee their work in many ways, one being that if a new Village Manager leaves the Village within the first year of appointment, they will repeat the recruitment at no added fee, but for out-of-pocket expenses only. Mr. Dority stated that this policy shows that they stand behind the person that is chosen, and they have only needed to exercise this policy two times. Once was due to an individual being recruited by another agency, and once was due to a death. He stated that the policy means they too have a stake in the search and they work hard to meet the needs of the Village. Mr. Dority stated that they also have a policy to not re-recruit a person away after they have been placed in a position.
Mr. Dority provided some information about himself. He stated that he is a former City Manager with 23 years of experience, and 11 years experience as a search consultant. He stated that he has had many of his clients return business back to him. Mr. Dority stated that he has a graduate degree in public administration and experience in college towns including Geeley, CO, Oxford, Ohio, and East Lansing, MI. He stated that he has experience in working with towns like Granville and has in years past worked with cities in financial distress. He added that Sue is familiar with municipal finance due to her previous experience as a CPA.
Mr. Dority explained the methodology of the Mercer Group. He stated that they first produce a document known as a Position Profile. They develop the Profile by doing a Position Analysis where they study and define work relationships, job qualifications, and select criteria. Ms. Sue Dority explained that they interview Council and members of the community to develop the document. She also provided sample Profiles to Council. Mr. Dority stated that they have access to many reliable resources and loads of contacts. He stated that they do not just sort resumes, but recruit regionally and nationally for the position. Mr. Dority stated that they screen the candidates by phone and perform background checks. He stated that they look at professional references and verify education and criminal records prior to any interviews done by Council. Ms. Dority added that they make an attempt to learn of situations where someone might not have been happy with a particular candidate for any reason and they speak with that person to get a full picture. She stated that there is a thorough process that narrows down to 10-20 people. Mr. Dority stated that they act as a mediator between Council and the final candidates. He added that they also perform follow-up evaluations for the chosen candidate if the municipality desires. Mr. Dority stated that they help produce Performance Plans and Performance Reviews, since many Councils are not accustomed to doing this. Ms. Dority added that there are two points during the process where they provide a written report. She stated one report is given to narrow down the candidates and one report is later given including background checks. Mr. Dority referred Council to his proposed timeframe on page two of his handout. He ended by stating that they are proud that they are different than other firms in that they really make an attempt to learn about the community. Mr. Dority asked Council if they had any questions.
Councilmember OKeefe asked what the Mercer Group already knew about Granville. Mr. Dority stated that he was familiar with the size, location, population, and relationship with Denison University. He added that he knew Granville was settled by some Welsh people from Massachusetts and they put strong value on the history and education. Ms. Dority added that they did take a brief tour and it is an impressive, beautiful town.
Vice Mayor Lucier stated that she noticed that the proposed timeframe could overlap an upcoming election and at least several of the Council members, whose terms expire, are not running. She stated that there will be new Council members taking office the first of December and she asked if Mr. Dority has ever been involved with a situation like this. Vice Mayor Lucier later asked if the proposed timetable could be moved forward and she added that she is not sure at this time what the other members of Council would think about this. Mr. Dority stated that there was a similar situation in Clayton, MO and there are several ways to consider alleviating any issues. He stated that the timetable is able to be moved up and there could also be a committee appointed by Council to serve as an interview panel. Councilmember Hartfield stated that she thinks it would be good to move the timeline back so that the current Council is the ones making the final decision. She asked if they could target being done by Thanksgiving. Mr. Dority stated that this is possible. Councilmember Herman stated that it is important to explain what is meant by having a candidate selected. He asked if this means an offer is made or a contract is signed. He asked Mr. Dority what he saw as being feasible. Mr. Dority stated that an offer and earnest agreement is feasible within a week of choosing a candidate. Mayor Robertson stated that they did not foresee any issues, but she wondered what would be the process if a candidate is not chosen before a new Council comes in. Mr. Dority explained that it would not be unreasonable for the candidate to want to interview with the new Council before accepting an offer. Councilmember Herman asked if the election would have an impact on receiving résumés of qualified candidates. Mr. Dority stated that he did not foresee this as being an issue because there are other motivating factors for that candidate to consider and they are aware that Councils will change. Councilmember OKeefe wondered if a candidate for Council might be able to be involved in the interview process. Vice Mayor Lucier stated that might be a possibility. Mr. Dority stated that he suggests rules of Council be established and that they are the ones who conduct the interviews of candidates. Mayor Robertson asked if they ever include interested citizens in serving on the panel that interviews. Mr. Dority stated that there is not a reason to not do this, but it is rarely done. He stated that most often they see another panel invited to establish questions to be asked to the candidate. Ms. Dority added that the same process can be used with the staff. Mayor Robertson asked how much time is typically spent on the interviewing process. Mr. Dority stated typically 1 ½ days with a guided tour, interview panel, and perhaps a public reception. He stated the interview is typically done the following day. Mayor Robertson asked how many are typically interviewed at this stage. Mr. Dority stated 4-5 people. Vice Mayor Lucier asked if all 5 candidates come at the same time. Mr. Dority stated yes and this is very typical, but interviews are done separately. Vice Mayor Lucier inquired on how the Mercer Group proposes to handle any internal candidate resumes that come in. Mr. Dority stated that it is good if internal résumés come in and they handle the search in the exact same way. He added that if an internal candidate is not included in the final 10, they call the candidate and explain why their resume did not compare against the others. He stated that they prefer this method, rather than a courtesy interview. Ms. Dority added that sometimes they qualify, and sometimes they do not. Vice Mayor Lucier stated that she likes that they do the screening and provide feedback back to the candidate. Councilmember OKeefe asked when in their process do they talk with the staff. Mr. Dority stated in the beginning. Mayor Robertson asked if Mr. Dority could explain what type of information would come back to Council after a final performance review is done. Mr. Dority stated that they designed the process a few years ago and they take approximately eighteen sub-categories developed by the National League of Municipalities. He stated that they give a very thorough job description of the kinds of work done by the administration. Mayor Robertson asked what kind of input they seek. Mr. Dority stated that the input generally comes from Council, and they have received input from the staff, but this is rare. Councilmember OKeefe asked if a contact is given in the beginning which states the terms. Mr. Dority stated that they have a contract in the beginning and this is generally written up by the Village staff, but adopted from their original proposal. Law Director Crites indicated that any questions he had have already been answered. Council thanked the Mercer Group for their presentation.
The PAR Group Greg Ford, Vice President (6:48 pm)
Mr. Ford stated that the PAR Group was established in 1972 and they perform searches for all city positions. He added that they do not work with the private sector and they are a company serving mainly the Midwest. He stated that they performed the search for the Worthington, Ohio city manager. Mr. Ford stated that they have been quite successful in their attempts to search for administrative positions, and their best tool is the Recruitment Profile. He stated that they establish the profile by sitting down with members of Council or those they choose for them to meet with. He stated that they address the needs of Council and how they envision the manager working with them. He stated that they try not to over compensate for skills lacking in the previous person. Mr. Ford stated that he tries to spend most of his time looking at what challenges the community is facing. He stated that it is important that candidates realize that in smaller communities sometimes the managers position does a lot of the grunt work due to a lack of staff. He went on to say that they look at 7-8 challenges facing the community that Council would like to see addressed in the short and long term, and this information is gathered by a questionnaire. Mr. Ford stated that he does a lot of phone work/interviews before Council sees the narrowed down list of candidates. Mr. Ford stated that it is important for the new manager to know what the attitude of the community is. He stated that he recently worked with a town in Indiana Fishers, Indiana that went from a population of 7,000 to 52,000 in ten years and estimated to reach 200,000. He stated that this particular community had an aggressive annexation policy. Vice Mayor Lucier stated that Granville is not wanting to be like that. Mr. Ford stated that he would provide a booklet of 8-10 candidates for Council to review listing all the background information. Councilmember Herman asked Mr. Ford how they handle internal candidates. Mr. Ford stated that they would automatically be included in the first group of candidates and they feel that Council knows internal candidates better than they do. He stated that the narrowed down 8-10 candidates would be outside candidates only who he has had phone interviews with and background checks performed. He stated that they then narrow this list down to no more than five. Councilmember OKeefe asked if they provide the questions for Council to ask to the candidates. Mr. Ford stated yes and some are general questions and some need to be tailored for Councils needs. He added that they do not believe in an aggressive type of interviewing process. Mr. Ford stated that Council has the option to do additional types of testing after the interview process, perhaps the Meyers Briggs test or a panel of interviewers. He stated that they try to conduct the interviews on Fridays and they ask the candidates to come for tour and perhaps some type of social gathering down the line. He stated that they would then contact 2-3 on the following day for another interview. Mr. Ford stated that his firm could also assist in the negotiations once an offer is made. Mr. Ford inquired if there was a residency requirement. Council believed there was one and Law Director Crites confirmed that the Charter stated that the Village Manager would need to become a resident. Mr. Ford stated that they use Lexus-Nexus on evaluating candidates. Councilmember OKeefe asked Mr. Ford to further explain their background check procedure. Mr. Ford stated that state and federal checks are performed, but they always suggest that the local enforcement agency do a police investigation on the final candidate since his firm is a private firm and somewhat limited as to what they are allowed to check. Mr. Ford stated that his firm will perform another search if the hired candidate leaves the position within the first year. He stated that they have only needed to honor this policy once in the past five years. Councilmember Hartfield inquired on the timeline; She asked how soon they could start and when they anticipate wrapping up. Mr. Ford stated that he has one other commitment he is working with right now, but he felt he could start in the next two weeks. He added that the key is gathering all of the information needed for the Recruitment Profile, such as the seal, photos, interviews, etc. He stated that the process takes 90 days, but he could try and shorten it to 60 days. He stated that he would see no reason why they couldnt look at the middle of November for closure to the entire process. Vice Mayor Lucier stated that the approximate hire date could be the first of January. Mr. Ford stated that it is appropriate at this level of employment to give four weeks notice when leaving a job position, so January 1st would seem fitting. Mr. Ford added that his firm will also check personal and professional references. He stated that he puts very little value on the personal references though. Mr. Ford stated that he would be available to Council at all times evenings and weekends. Mr. Ford stated that it is possible Council may find that they are interested in an assistant city manager or deputy manager from a larger municipality. Councilmember Herman asked how the PAR Group would help Council evaluate this. Mr. Ford stated that they would encourage them to look at their level of maturity and their commitment to the community. Councilmember OKeefe inquired on why the PAR Group uses the Meyers Briggs test. Mr. Ford stated that he is not a huge fan if the test, but they use it as a tool to show ones strengths and weaknesses. He added that it may help show someones learning style. Mr. Ford stated that Dr. Koone, from Northern Illinois University, interprets the test for them and he recommends that the test should never be used to make a hiring decision. Mayor Robertson stated that some firms offer a follow up and evaluation after the hiring process and she asked if the PAR Group does this. Mr. Ford stated that this is available for an additional charge. Mayor Robertson asked what the approach would be. Mr. Ford stated that he would not be involved in that part, and he believes Dr. Koone has helped in this area. He stated that they would provide evaluation forms to show if progress is being made in specific areas. He added that their main goal is to get a good candidate in the job. Law Director Crites inquired on what role Mr. Ford would see the staff playing in the entire process. Mr. Ford stated that they would sit down with the department heads and find out their short and long range goals. He stated that they would try to get a sense of what style of leadership they like to work with and to see what they see as the role of the manager. Council thanked Mr. Ford for his presentation.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION Council discussed making a decision at the Wednesday night Council meeting. Vice Mayor Lucier asked if they would be discussing the matter in Executive Session. Mayor Robertson stated that this is not allowed since they are not making a decision to hire a Village Manager, but a decision to choose the search firm. She stated therefore, the matter needs to be discussed in a public forum.
Councilmember OKeefe stated that one firm seems to be more intuitive, while the other is more technical and text book. Vice Mayor Lucier asked which firm she preferred. Councilmember OKeefe stated that she has not decided and would like to think it over some more. She added that they both had their strengths and weaknesses. Mayor Robertson stated that she liked how the PAR Group stated that Council needs to see who the best fit is and who can best work with Council. Councilmember OKeefe stated that the first group (Mercer Group) seemed to have a focus on the historical aspects, while the second group (PAR Group) seemed to put more emphasis on understanding the problems in a place like Granville. Councilmember Hartfield stated that the first group (Mercer Group) seemed to be more text book, while the second group (PAR Group) had a keen eye into understanding who we are and what Granvilles needs are. Mayor Robertson stated that both groups proposed that they would make an attempt to discover those things about us that make us us. She added that neither group wanted to say what Granville is until they have had a chance to further investigate it. Councilmember Herman stated that he preferred the way the first group (Mercer Group) handled the internal process. He stated that he liked a lot of the examples provided by the first group and the narrowing down of 4-5as opposed to 8-10 in the second group. Mayor Robertson stated that they may have interrupted Mr. Ford and gotten him somewhat off track. Councilmember Herman stated that the first group (Mercer Group) seemed more structured and provided a schedule. Mayor Robertson asked if he had spoken with each of the two groups when he did the initial investigation. Councilmember Herman stated that he had more discussion with people from the Mercer Group. Councilmember Hartfield stated that she had initial contacts with the PAR Group. Mayor Robertson asked if any reference checks were done. Councilmember Herman stated no and that he would not have the time to do this before the Wednesday night Council meeting. Councilmember Hartfield stated that she could look at checking references. Councilmember Herman added that he would prefer to see reference checks done of people who actually worked with Greg Ford, and not necessarily just the PAR Group firm. Councilmember Herman stated that the original proposal from the PAR Group did not have Greg Fords name on it, but another gentleman. Councilmember OKeefe stated that Mr. Ford indicated he has been doing this type of work for the search firm for one year. Councilmember Herman stated that he did have some information about the Mercer Group that he could forward to Council. Councilmember Hartfield stated that she would be late for the Wednesday night meeting. Mayor Robertson stated that she would need someone to make a motion to add it to the end of the agenda. Councilmember OKeefe stated that as for the background checks, the Mercer Group does the work themselves, while the PAR Group has staff to do this for them. She added that she likes that the PAR Group says they can be done in 90 days. Mayor Robertson stated that the Mercer Group also seems to be able to work in the same timeframe when we asked them to shorten it to closer to 90 days. Vice Mayor Lucier stated that she sees both firms being reasonably accessible as far as their hours. Councilmember OKeefe asked why the third firm they were interested in presenting pulled out. Vice Mayor Lucier stated she was unsure, but she suspected it was because Council never got back with them and they had changed the week of the interviews from what she had previously told them. Council agreed to further discuss the hiring of a search firm at the Wednesday night (August 3rd) meeting.
ADJOURNMENT At 7:57 pm, Vice Mayor Lucier moved to adjourn the meeting. Second by Councilmember OKeefe. Motion carried, 5-0. Meeting adjourned.
Submitted by Melanie Schott