Professional recruiter considered for manager search

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 0 Comments

 

The new Miami Lakes council should pick the next town manager and the city may hire a professional recruiter to assist a committee tasked with recommending candidates for the job, as council members hope to get someone on board to run the day-to-day operations by January.

At their June 5 regular meeting, council members learned that the Miami Lakes Town Manager Selection Committee was proposing suggestions of their own for the approach lawmakers should take while choosing the right person for the job.

But they echoed Town Attorney Raul Gastesi’s sentiments that the committee members’ job is to scrutinize resumes and narrow the field of candidates to seven for council members to interview to determine the best person for the position.

During its last meeting, the committee offered suggestions following the advice of two city managers as a guide for picking the town’s top administrator.

But Gastesi said council members are in charge of setting the criteria of searching for the town manager.

Gastesi’s advice didn’t sit well with committee members, including Maria Kramer who accused him of dampening their ideas. 

“The council is very open to the committee and our ideas,” she said.

Gastesi said he’s merely following the rules in the town charter and the ordinance council members approved to set the standards in the search for a town manger.

“You may not like my legal opinion but it’s the best legal advice and I’m going to continue to do that,” he said. “By following the charter and ordinance, the town is keeping the committee on point.”

Gastesi broached the issue at the Town Council meeting, where lawmakers were concerned over a possible delay for the interview portion of the job search, from October to December, mounting attorney fees and no town manager on board should Alex Rey accept a job offer before his resignation takes effect in March 2019.  

If so, Rey, who said he’ll starting looking for another job in the fall, must give the town a 60-day notice, meaning he could leave before March. 

Rey, who has been the town manger for 13 years, is retiring from Miami Lakes to take advantage of the government’s DROP program.

The new town manager will earn about $120,000 a year, oversee a small staff and a $30 million budget, hire and fire employees and present vendor’s contracts for council members’ approval.

Council members did agree the new council members to be elected should pick Rey’s replacement since they will serve under the new town manager.

With an election in November, the Town Council will see new faces, as Tim Daubert and Ceasar Mestre are termed out, and Frank Mingo is vacating his seat to run for the Florida Senate.

“The new council should pick the manger,” Mingo said. “I say we do it after the election.”

Mingo also said the outgoing council members’ replacements should pick new selection committee members.

“They are a reflection of the new council,” Mingo said.

But Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano opposed disbanding the existing committee.

“We don’t want to start from scratch because it could delay the process,” she said.

The town may consider hiring a professional recruiter in the job search to save Miami Lakes from additional attorney fees.

Gastesi said assisting the committee and the town’s Human Resources Department is time consuming and he has to bill the town for more money.

Rey suggested the recruitment idea in lieu of the town attorney.

“The recruiter would guide the committee through the process,” Rey said.

Gastesi agreed and said the head hunter can attenuate the burden for committee members.

“The recruiter can look at the resumes and reduce it to 15 for the committee and they can reduce it to 7,” Gastesi said.

With Rey’s own job search, time is of the essence for Miami Lakes to replace him since deputy town manager Andrea Agha accepted the town manager’s position at Key Biscayne.

She was the town’s contingency in case a town manager wasn’t on board following Rey’s departure.

Council members must meet three critical deadline dates: Selecting a town manager, the date for contract negotiations and the official date for the new town manger to join his new staff.

Council members said they are willing to meet with the selection committee during a workshop to discuss their ideas for selecting the new town manager.

Committee members said Aventura City Manager Susan Grant guided them through the process and wanted council members to follow her advice.

 Grant, who was one of the guests during the selection committee’s meeting, said some candidates might be hesitant to accept the position during the transition of new council members.

“It has to be a good fit on both ends,” said Grant, who worked for the city of Coral Springs for 10 years before she accepted the position in Aventura.  

She said the criteria for selecting a city manager can be difficult for the committee and council members.

Case in point, the town is requiring a candidate with a Bachelor’s Degree, but a Master’s Degree is preferred, in public administration, or a town manger with a depth of experience in the public or private sector.

In Grant’s case, Aventura is her first city manager job after spending years as a deputy town manager with finance, budgeting and Human Resource experience. She said she was the only candidate who wasn’t a city manager.

She said Miami Lakes might want to pick a town manager who’s an expert in one area and pick staff members to run the departments he or she knows less about.

“A town manager can’t be an expert in all areas and departments,” said Grant, who oversees a $40 million budget for a city with 38,000 residents.

Grant, who was picked over Alex Rey for the job in Aventura, said the interview portion of the job search is significant.

She said the candidates’ resumes may seem like a good match but their personalities may not be a good fit for Miami Lakes.

“You will discover that during the interviews,” she said. 

After Aventura picked up her to run the city, Grant said she officially took over the helm following a three month transition period, which cost the city a lot of money.

She recommended a shorter transformation for Miami Lakes to the save the town some money. 

The committee has $20,000 budgeted for the selection process, with the bulk of the expenditures for background checks.

So far, Gastesi said 58 candidates applied for the job and more are expected to throw their names around before the June 15 deadline.


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