An Illinois-based search firm was unanimously selected Tuesday by city council to help in the search for Oberlin’s next city manager.
GovHR USA was the favorite of a council subcommittee assigned to research potential firms. It was chosen over three other applicants: Management Partners, Mercer Group, and Slavin Group.
Council vice president Linda Slocum, councilman Bryan Burgess, and councilman Kelley Singleton served on the committee to vet 11 companies through phone interviews.
Slocum said in a letter to council that the subcommittee spoke with at least two prior clients of each firm. All four finalists received praise from their clients.
GovHR was the top choice because of its history of placements in small college towns. It also scored points for having a large number of women in its executive ranks.
Councilwoman Sharon Pearson said she liked that GovHR was very specific about the approach it would take in the hiring process.
“What really stood out with GovHR for me was their focus on college communities,” Burgess said. “They understood college towns operate differently than cities.”
He said a college town is one that has two organizations in one community that must work together and GovHR recognized that.
Singleton really liked that the firm offered an option for council members to review the applicants they did not select to move forward.
“They recently filled probably the hardest city manager position in the country,” he said. “They just filled the position for Ferguson, Mo. So I figured if they can navigate that mine field, they can probably help us.”
The firm’s base cost is $21,500 but that fee does not include travel and accommodation costs for candidates brought to town for interviews or any additional services council members may want GovHR to provide.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
City council vice president Linda Slocum talks about GovHR’s placement of city managers in small college towns similar to Oberlin.