LACEY - The Lacey City Council is one step closer to hiring its next city manager.
During a work session Thursday night, the council narrowed possible executive search firms to three, two of which are based in the Puget Sound region. After a quick discussion about the five firms that submitted proposals, the council ranked its choices, with the best scores coming from Seattle-based Waldron & Co., Issaquah-based Prothman, and Bob Murray and Associates out of California.
Interviewing a mix of local and out-of-state firms will provide variety as the council moves forward on its search, Mayor Tom Nelson said.
“I think it’s a good balance all the way around,” he said.
Interviews with the three firms are scheduled for the April 21 work session.
The search comes after City Manager Greg Cuoio, who has held the position since 1987, announced in February that he would retire effective June 30. The city has stated it wants to name a successor around the time Cuoio departs.
Cost estimates provided by the finalists show the search likely will run north of $20,000, a cost council member Jason Hearn said is worth it.
“That’s a lot of money,” he said, “but looking at the importance of this position I think we should go forward with it and be involved and responsible at the same time.”
After the meeting, Scott Spence, who has served as assistant city manager since 2003, said he is interested in applying for the position.
Waldron & Co. has experience with Lacey; the city has used the firm to find department directors, and it recruited Cuoio, said Merri Lannoye, city human resources director. Olympia recently paid Waldron more than $43,000 for a search for its police chief position, said Jane Kirkemo, administrative services director for Olympia.
Council member Andy Ryder kicked around the idea of not hiring a search firm in favor of in-house work, but Lannoye said a firm would have a better grasp on networking and available talent.
In 2008, Tumwater decided not to use a search firm in favor of regional advertising, said Eric Trimble, Tumwater administrative services director. The city ended up hiring John Doan, who had previously served as the community-development director in Puyallup.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/outsideoly