Choosing a new city manager
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
When Doug Leslie retired earlier this year as Cape Girardeau's city manager, there was no clear-cut procedure for selecting his successor. It had been years since the city council had conducted a nationwide search for a city manager, resulting in the hiring of Leslie's predecessor, Mike Miller, in 1995. Leslie was the council's choice to take over from Miller.
When Leslie retired, the council had a choice: promote from within, or conduct a nationwide search. Councilman John Voss made the case that a nationwide search would produce the best candidate, even if the next city manager is already on the city's staff. Ken Eftink, who is serving as interim city manager, is a highly regarded candidate for the position.
Voss and councilmembers Marcia Ritter and Loretta Schneider were appointed by Mayor Jay Knudtson to organized the city manager search. They relied on the ICMA, which, according to its website, is "the professional and educational organization for chief appointed managers, administrators and assistants in cities, towns, counties and regional entities throughout the world." In addition, the committee contacted other cities that had conducted city manager searches. The open position was advertised locally, with state municipal leagues, at universities with well-known programs in public administration and national journals.
As part of the process, the search committee put together an outstanding profile of Cape Girardeau and other information regarding the city and the expectations of the city council.
Thanks to these thorough procedures, the city received 56 applications from 23 states. The committee has narrowed this to 12 semifinalists from which a few finalists will be chosen for visits to Cape Girardeau. The council hopes to name a new city manager by June.
Cape Girardeau residents owe the search committee, the mayor and other councilmembers a commendation for the hard work and professional approach they have taken in the process of selecting a new city manager.