Res­i­dency not re­quire­ment for city man­ager

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Cov­ing­ton city coun­cil mem­bers dis­cussed chang­ing the lan­guage of a re­cruit­ment firm’s brochure for hir­ing a new city man­ager at a spe­cial called meet­ing on Mon­day night.

The coun­cil high­lighted sev­eral changes they wanted to make to a brochure from The Mercer Group, a firm out of At­lanta they hired to con­duct a search for the city’s next city man­ager.

One of the changes in the brochure that coun­cil mem­bers dis­agreed on was re­quir­ing the new city man­ager to live in Cov­ing­ton.

The coun­cil voted 3 to 2 on chang­ing the lan­guage in the brochure that said the new city man­ager should live in the city. Coun­cil mem­bers Janet Good­man and Chris Smith voted no on not chang­ing the re­quire­ment. Coun­cil­man Mike What­ley did not at­tend the meet­ing.

Coun­cil­man Keith Dal­ton said he didn’t think the new city man­ager should have to live in Cov­ing­ton. He said what if a can­di­date had a spe­cial needs child who needed to at­tend school in an­other county such as Athens. He said that can­di­date might not ap­ply to the po­si­tion be­cause of the re­quire­ment.

“We have some peo­ple who work in fac­to­ries here who come from as far away as Alabama now and they come here and work ev­ery­day,” Dal­ton said. “I want to get the best can­di­date pe­riod.”

Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said he didn’t think the lan­guage for re­quir­ing a city man­ager to live in Cov­ing­ton needed to be changed be­cause it was op­tional and not a re­quire­ment.

“I per­son­ally kind of like the way that it was worded be­cause it stresses the fact that we would like you to,” John­ston said. “It says we would pre­fer.”

Smith and Good­man agreed with John­ston say­ing it wasn’t a re­quire­ment but it was some­thing the city would pre­fer.

“I would hope that they would want to live in the community, but we can’t make them though,” Smith said.

Ac­cord­ing to The Mercer Group’s pro­posal, the com­pany would se­lect po­ten­tial can­di­dates by do­ing a po­si­tion anal­y­sis, ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, re­sume re­view, can­di­date screening, back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­ter­view and a ne­go­ti­a­tion and fol­low-up with the can­di­date.

The re­cruit­ment process is expected to take about six weeks and will cost $15,000 plus any ad­di­tional out-of-pocket fees not to ex­ceed $4,500.

Coun­cil­man Smith said he had con­cerns with the time­line of the re­cruit­ment process.

“My big­gest con­cern is the time frame on fol­low up phone calls from Sept. 13 to Oct. 29,” Smith said. “Six weeks seems to be a long time to be ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.”

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