Consultant chosen for city manager quest

By Sean C. Morgan

Lebanon Local

The Lebanon City Council approved a plan to use Prothman, an executive recruitment consulting firm, to complete the recruitment process for a new city manager.

Gary Marks resigned Aug. 29 at the City Council’s request following an executive session, which is confidential and closed to the public.

The council met in a work session on Sept. 25 to discuss options.

The options included city staff and the City Council completing the process, using Prothman or requesting proposals from other recruitment firms.

The council reached a consensus to move forward with Issaquah, Wash.-based Prothman, which the city used in its last city manager search, and to begin recruitment after the first of the year.

Interim City Manager Ron Whitlach said that, based on discussions with Prothman, the city could have a new city manager by the end of May or in June.

Whitlach estimated the cost at more than $35,000.

Councilor Jason Bolen said that the Fire Department used Prothman in its search for a fire chief.

“We found them to be equally as good as last time we used them here,” Bolen said. “Good communication, brought back a good pool. They have a good grasp of the Northwest and what people want in the Northwest for their department heads.”

“The biggest things is contacts,” Whitlach said. “They’ve got the contacts, and they know what to target. We could figure it out, but I think that’s one of the biggest things they can bring to the table.”

“In going through this once before, I liked the Prothman group,” Mayor Paul Aziz said during the Sept. 25 work session. “I really like their ability to tap into people that we would have no clue how to get ahold of.”

He recalled a previous recruitment process handled by the city, which resulted in nothing, Aziz said. The city switched to Prothman and received a number of good candidates.

He said he preferred going with Prothman rather than requesting proposals from other firms because the city has worked with Prothman previously and had a good experience.

The council voted Wednesday during its regular meeting to establish a committee to develop a contract with Prothman and review applications.

Committee members include Aziz, Councilor Karin Stauder, Councilor Michelle Steinhebel, Whitlach, Maintenance Director Jason Williams, Police Chief Frank Stevenson, City Clerk Kim Scheafer and Human Resources Director Angela Solesbee.

The committee will negotiate a contract with Prothman, including allowances for contributions by the City Council and staff, for approval prior to the end of the year.

Present at the meeting Wednesday were Aziz, councilors Rebecca Grizzle, Steinhebel, Bolen, Stauder and Robert Furlow.