News

Menlo Park: Council to discuss city manager replacement plan tonight

The Menlo Park City Council is working to decide how to fill the city manager's position now that City Manager Alex McIntyre has announced plans to leave for Ventura.

He hasn't announced a final day yet, but it's expected to be at the end of October, according to Administrative Services Director Lenka Diaz.

The council is scheduled to discuss the matter at its meeting tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 9) both in its closed session starting at 6 p.m. and during the public portion of its meeting, starting at 7 p.m.

Among the considerations, according to a staff report, are whether the city should pick an interim city manager from among existing employees, or look instead to someone on the outside.

Should the city not choose someone to take the reins by McIntyre's departure, Diaz said, the council could appoint a member of the city’s executive team to serve as an acting city manager.

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Diaz noted in the staff report that if the council picks an existing city employee, it would on the plus side be a faster process, since the employee would probably understand how Menlo Park works, and the council members would probably know more about the top manager they're working with.

On the negative side, such a candidate is probably already in a leadership role that would also need to be back-filled, and could leave an open position in an already-sparse management tier of city employees. Currently, seven of 24 management positions are vacant in the city, according to staff.

If the council picks an outsider, on the other hand, existing managers would be less affected, but the search process would take longer. According to staff, if the council chooses to look outside the city for an interim city manager, the city might be able to pull things together as soon as Nov. 13. Also, if the person chosen has retired through the state pension system, limitations might apply to how much time he or she can work and be compensated for.

In finding a permanent city manager, staff recommends that the council put together a subcommittee to oversee the process.

It should decide whether to either contract with a professional recruiting firm or work with a recruiter to take a more hands-on approach to the selection process by coming up with an ideal candidate profile, drafting the recruitment announcement, developing a recruitment timeline and deciding on the selection process. It generally takes cities six to nine months from when the recruiter is selected to when the city manager starts, Diaz reported.

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The city is seeking proposals from recruiting firms; a subcommittee could have recommendations prepared as soon as Oct. 23, Diaz said.

She noted that the city should expect to spend about $28,500 or more for the recruiter.

Watch tonight's meeting online here or access the meeting agenda here.

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Menlo Park: Council to discuss city manager replacement plan tonight

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 11:55 am

The Menlo Park City Council is working to decide how to fill the city manager's position now that City Manager Alex McIntyre has announced plans to leave for Ventura.

He hasn't announced a final day yet, but it's expected to be at the end of October, according to Administrative Services Director Lenka Diaz.

The council is scheduled to discuss the matter at its meeting tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 9) both in its closed session starting at 6 p.m. and during the public portion of its meeting, starting at 7 p.m.

Among the considerations, according to a staff report, are whether the city should pick an interim city manager from among existing employees, or look instead to someone on the outside.

Should the city not choose someone to take the reins by McIntyre's departure, Diaz said, the council could appoint a member of the city’s executive team to serve as an acting city manager.

Diaz noted in the staff report that if the council picks an existing city employee, it would on the plus side be a faster process, since the employee would probably understand how Menlo Park works, and the council members would probably know more about the top manager they're working with.

On the negative side, such a candidate is probably already in a leadership role that would also need to be back-filled, and could leave an open position in an already-sparse management tier of city employees. Currently, seven of 24 management positions are vacant in the city, according to staff.

If the council picks an outsider, on the other hand, existing managers would be less affected, but the search process would take longer. According to staff, if the council chooses to look outside the city for an interim city manager, the city might be able to pull things together as soon as Nov. 13. Also, if the person chosen has retired through the state pension system, limitations might apply to how much time he or she can work and be compensated for.

In finding a permanent city manager, staff recommends that the council put together a subcommittee to oversee the process.

It should decide whether to either contract with a professional recruiting firm or work with a recruiter to take a more hands-on approach to the selection process by coming up with an ideal candidate profile, drafting the recruitment announcement, developing a recruitment timeline and deciding on the selection process. It generally takes cities six to nine months from when the recruiter is selected to when the city manager starts, Diaz reported.

The city is seeking proposals from recruiting firms; a subcommittee could have recommendations prepared as soon as Oct. 23, Diaz said.

She noted that the city should expect to spend about $28,500 or more for the recruiter.

Watch tonight's meeting online here or access the meeting agenda here.

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Comments

Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm
Like this comment

With everyone leaving for other cities why doesn't Menlo Park look to new idea on retention. Start up companies offer stock options to keep people, not an option for the city but a bonus structure based on tenure could be a good hook. I am sure there are other creative ways to help retain good employees.


Jen Wolosin
Registered user
Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 9, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Jen Wolosin, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2018 at 12:38 pm
4 people like this

Per an email from the Mayor in response to my email to City Council (below), this agenda item is being moved up to come right after the Belle Haven Library topic. If you have thoughts on this topic, please email City Council at [email protected]

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Dear City Council Members,

We are 28 days away from an election that could bring a great deal of change to our City Council. Given the huge role that the City Manager has on our City, it is critical that we wait to make any substantive decisions about the hiring of the City Manager until after the election.

The Staff Report for Agenda Item I-4 recommends that the City Council appoint a subcommittee tonight to oversee the City Manager section process. Given the imminent departure of Mr. McIntyre, it argues that immediate action should be taken, and even points out that the Mayor has already directed staff to solicit proposals from professional recruiting firms.

It is not appropriate for a subcommittee to be appointed before the election that will develop the "ideal candidate profile" and "the selection process." It's one thing to move forward with the soliciting of proposals for recruitment firms at this time (though even the definition of a 'good firm' can be subject to values and policies - who the firm considers stakeholders, track record of recruiting women and people of color, a generally diverse pool of applicants, etc., etc.), but an entirely different thing to make any other decisions. The upcoming election may have a huge impact on the Council and it is critical that we give those elected on November 6th, whether they be newcomers or incumbents, a chance to be part of the process.

I would also encourage the City to create an advisory committee of some sort made up of key stakeholders to give input into what qualities they would like to see in a City Manager. This advisory committee should be made up of a diverse pool of interested parties and ideally would have a part in the selection process as well.

Finally, I encourage you to go through this process in the most accessible/transparent way possible for the community at large. Having this item last on the meeting's agenda does not inspire public participation and oversight.

There is a lot at stake in this process. Please make sure that it is done correctly.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jen Wolosin


henry fox
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm
henry fox, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm
5 people like this

This was justed posted in the city council inbox--and I repost here.

Dear City Council Members
Before entering into the quest for a new city manager, I suggest you
• Hire a (non-traditional) consultant to offer alternative organizational and staffing models for a small city such as ours.
• Get these new models on the table before new committees are created, to help them profile the next city manager.

We have always had retention issues because good people want to move to larger cities.
And now the problem is exacerbated because employment is so tight. Most neighboring cities are struggling to retain and hire new staff.

A staff of 287 for our small city is excessive, even if the slots are not filled. We should freeze hiring, or most hiring, until the review is done.

Thanks, Mickie Winkler, former Menlo Park Mayor


Lynne Bramlett
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm
Lynne Bramlett , Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm
6 people like this

I also wrote Council on the topic. Here's the email I sent this morning. Thanks to Jen and Mickie for their emails too.

Hello Council,

The staff report omits staff, small business owners, and the public in the
process. The process steps need to include at least one community meeting
where staff, small business owners, and the public can give input into what
they consider important in a new city manager. I would hold the meeting
together, after hours. I would devise the meeting to include small group
format and to ensure confidentiality -- without violating the Brown Act. To
break down the silos in Menlo Park, please have a common meeting where
different types of people can mix and meet.

I read a recent newspaper article that said Half Moon Bay was hiring a new
City Manager. The article asserted that they had 50 qualified applicants.
The article also noted that HMB held a public forum designed to collect
staff and public input regarding what qualities and skills they believed
the new HMB City Manager should posses. Menlo Park can learn from Half Moon
Bay's approach. We might also ask suitable people why they believed that so
many applied for the HMB City Manager position.

I would also include at least some City Managers from Santa Clara County
(and a few in San Mateo County) in an advisory committee or extended
advisory committee. As most of our problems are regional ones (housing,
traffic, etc.) this approach would pave the way for later synergistic
cooperation and effort in tackling our shared problems.

We also need public/staff representation on City Manager search committee.
Our City has grown too large and complicated to just leave the hiring of
Menlo Park's chief executive to two council members on a subcommittee.
While Council retains the final "hiring authority" -- we need to better
include staff and the public in this process.

I also think we would attract more applicants if we broadened the City
Manager's reporting and firing structure. Right now, the City Manager is
too dependent on Council to retain his/her position. This could (and some
say already has) led to the City Manager becoming more focused on pleasing
3 Council members (the majority needed) than on serving the overall public
good. The City Manager should be serving the public and Council should
serve the public. However, reasonable questions have been raised regarding
just whose interests are primarily being served in Menlo Park. We need more
protection for qualified City Managers from the potential whims of Council
members and to ensure that this person focuses on public's interests.
Holding public performance evaluation sessions, as other towns do, would
help to ensure transparency regarding the city manager's job performance
and more protections. An able City Manager should not worry about the
public weighing in on his/her job performance.

Having a community-based strategic planning process would also be helpful.
A plan such as the Tacoma 2025
<Web Link; plan would
provide a decision-making framework that would cut down on the "political"
aspect of making decisions.

Lynne Bramlett


Follow-up?
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 14, 2018 at 3:29 pm
Follow-up?, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 14, 2018 at 3:29 pm
1 person likes this

What happened with this item? I've looked for a post-meeting summary, but haven't seen anything! Don't make me watch the video LOL


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