It looks as if the first part of the city manager search will be conducted by a body of citizens and commissioners, but much of the process still remains uncertain.
Mayor Bernie Hunstad’s proposal Monday would have included hiring an outside executive search firm as well as naming a seven-person citizens committee to provide oversight of the process. After a lengthy discussion, though, commissioners opted to start the search process without hiring a firm, instead leaving the initial search up to the committee.
The vote to establish a committee of seven Danville residents and two commissioners was 4-1, with Commissioner J.H. Atkins casting the lone “no” vote and Hunstad joining Commissioners Gail Louis, Kevin Caudill and Ryan Montgomery in approving the measure.
The commission had considered presentations from five executive search firms last month. Maximum cost estimates for each one were about $20,000, and most said their search would take about three months.
Montgomery remained open to using a headhunter if the committee approach does not work but said he has heard wide support for having a group of local people begin the process using the resources the city has through various organizations to which it belongs. Caudill and Atkins also voiced their support for local control of the beginning stages of the process.
There was some disagreement about the makeup of the committee and what it actually will be charged with doing and how much the commission will be involved.
Even with a committee, Louis argued in favor of commission involvement in the process from start to finish.
Atkins voted against the measure because he wanted to see the committee increased to 11 citizen members, but he also expressed confidence in the ability of a group of Danville residents to deliver a group of finalists for the commission to consider. Although he did not vote for the motion, Atkins, who served on a similar committee during a past city manager search, added an ammendment stating that the body will include a cross section of the community.
Although Louis suggested the commission make the end of the year a target for having a city manager in place, no decision was made on a firm timeline to conclude the process. Danville has been without a permanent city manager since Paul Stansbury was dismissed in May.
The commission did reach consensus on finalizing a job description and some screening criteria, as well as generating some potential committee appointments by its next meeting in two weeks. City staff members also were asked to inquire with the Kentucky League of Cities about options for advertising the position.
Anyone interested in being part of the search committee is asked to contact the city clerk’s office at (859) 238-1200.
In other business:
- The commission approved first reading of real estate taxes, which will increase by a small amount, and tangible property taxes, set to go down. The commission voted 3-2 to accept the compensating rate, which the city can take in order to maintain about the same level of revenue as the previous year. The real estate tax will go from 13.8 cents per $100 of valuation to 13.9 cents, while the tangible property tax will go from 18.7 cents per $100 of valuation to 16.The budget passed earlier this year was based on taking the compensating rate, which is currently expected to generate about $1.53 million. If the city had opted to establish a rate that would yield a 4 percent increase in revenue, the maximum increase not subject to a public recall, the rates would have been 14.5 cents per $100 for real estate and 16.6 cents for tangible property. This would have brought in about $66,000 in additional revenue.City financial advisor Michele Gosser said Danville’s rates will remain among the lowest for third-class cities.
- The commission also voted 3-1 for the second reading of an ordinance that will surplus two city streets at the request of Centre College. Commissioners Montgomery and Louis voted against surplusing Short Street and Hope Street. Hunstad, Atkins and Caudill voted for the ordinance. The college hopes to use the space created by acquiring the rights of way to build an all-purpose field for several sports and a possible future softball field. State law calls for the city to ask for sealed bids on the streets, so Centre will have to make some offer for the property.