Cleveland Heights City Council has selected a firm to conduct its search for a new city manager, and is expected to make that decision official at Wednesday's regular meeting.
Council selected Cincinnati-based Novak Consulting Group out of a total of seven applicants and three finalists, said Mayor Ed Kelley.
The contract will likely be finalized Wednesday, but Kelley expects the search to cost a total of about $30,000. Julia Novak, president of Novak, and Catherine Tuck Parrish, associate, will lead the search.
They will coordinate the typical tasks in a search — including setting a salary range, conducting background checks, finding candidates, posting advertisements for the position and more — and they will also organize a retreat for the city staff and the new city manager after his or her first 60 days in office and conduct an evaluation after the first year.
The company's experience is listed on the request for qualifications document included with this article in the PDF section (the first page is blank, scroll down.) Parrish conducted the city manager search for the City of Sandusky and the assistant city manager search for the City of Novi, MI. Novak led the search for the new city manager in Dublin, OH.
Kelley said he anticipated it would take the firm three to five months to find the right candidate, especially because the holidays are coming up.
"There's no reason to rush this process," he said.
He said that people have already inquired about the position, and he will refer applicants to Novak.
"Not a week goes by when somebody doesn’t tell me that they’d like to be the city manager," Kelley said.
Acting city manager Susanna Niermann O'Neil, who took over for former city manager Bob Downey when he abruptly resigned in April, plans to apply for the position.
Kelley said O'Neil, who has been community services director since 1989 and served as vice city manager, has not been involved in the process because she is applying for the role.
Novak will likely select eight to 10 candidates for council to review and select three to five finalists from.
Cleveland Heights Patch asked Kelley what is he looking for in a candidate. City manager experience? A longtime Cleveland Heights resident?
"What I really want to find in a candidate is someone that understands, that appreciates and can work with our diversity in our city. But I also want someone who has a vision for the future as far as finances, as far as development, as far as youth issues, senior issues. I want the whole package," he said. "And somebody who the staff feels comfortable working for."