Danville City Commission heard Monday from two executive search firms interested in facilitating the search for a new city manager, but the commission has not yet decided whether to enlist the outside help.
Hours before the City Commission named an interim city manager, representatives from Angel Group of Louisville and Mercer Group of Atlanta gave presentations.
Texas; Springsted in Richmond, Va.; and Slavin Management Consultants in Norcross, Ga.
Mayor Bernie Hunstad contacted Mercer Group in July for information about the company’s services ahead of an Aug. 8 meeting where the commission first officially discussed the search process.
City Clerk Donna Peek said she contacted eight firms recommended by the Kentucky League of Cities, but only five were interested in being involved.
Steve Angel and Pam Rogers of the Angel Group gave a presentation Monday. Angel Group has largely specialized in corporate executive search. However, Rogers, who would be handling most of the hands-on work, pointed to similarities with successful economic developer searches the firm has conducted.
Mercer Group was represented by the former longtime head of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, David Lord, who now works for the company and would be consulting on Danville’s search. Lord emphasized the company’s successful city manager searches across the country, including one for Paducah last year.
From their brief review of the proposals, commissioners seemed to find most of the firms fairly similar in methodology and price charged for their services. Most of the total costs, including percentage of maximum out-of-pocket expenses, were in the $20,000-$22,000 range.
Another thing that became clear is that most firms would expect the search to take at least three months.
Commissioner J.H. Atkins expressed apprehension about any search option that would not be driven by local decision-makers.
“To spend 16,000-plus dollars on a search at this point in our budget just doesn’t sit very well,” Atkins said.
Monday night, Hunstad said he knows some are reluctant to spend money to hire one of the companies but noted there would be costs associated with taking on the process in-house.
He favors hiring a search firm and also incorporating local input at some point in the process.
Hunstad believes the votes may already exist on the commission to move forward with hiring a firm to play a role in the search, but he wants to work on building unanimity on a course of action.