The Lakewood City Council took steps Monday night toward appointing a new council member and hiring a new city manager.
After hearing about an hour of presentations from 12 residents seeking the City Council appointment, the council moved toward hiring a consultant for between $19,000 and $40,000 to lead its search for a successor to City Manager Andrew Neiditz.
He’s leaving the city Feb. 23 to head South Sound 911, the new countywide emergency dispatch agency.
In the coming days, Mayor Don Anderson and council members Marie Barth and Mary Moss will work with Neiditz to make a recommendation on which of three search consultants to hire.
They will present their recommendation Monday for a decision by the full council.
Neiditz estimated it will take three months to hire a city manager. The council must decide whether to search nationwide or regionally.
Neiditz said the applicants will undergo a thorough financial and criminal background check.
The council then must decide how it wants to pare down the finalists it names.
The council could, for instance, hold public receptions locally or select a small group to travel to the finalists’ cities for firsthand interviews, among many options.
The three consultants are:
• Seattle-based Waldron and Company, the consultant used for the council’s hiring of Neiditz in 2005.
• Florida-based Colin Baenziger and Associates. The cities of Fife, Tacoma and Yakima, in addition to South Sound 911, hired the firm in their searches for new chief administrators.
• Bellevue-based The Prothman Company, which Lakewood hired to lead the search for Choi Halladay, the city’s finance director, five years ago.
Waldron’s fee is between $37,000 and $40,000, Neiditz said, while the other two consultants would charge between $19,000 and $21,000.
The council spent the first hour of Monday’s meeting hearing from the 12 people who applied to fill the seat recently vacated by former Mayor Doug Richardson. He’s now serving on the Pierce County Council.
The candidates gave four-minute presentations focusing on their professional experience and civic involvement. Many noted how their background will aid the council’s search for a new city manager. Nearly all also noted the quality of the applicant pool.
The council met for about an hour behind closed doors in an executive session to evaluate the qualifications of the council candidates. State law allows this, but it requires the council to deliberate and make a decision in public.
The council is scheduled to make its decision Monday. It will appoint an interim city manager and hold a farewell ceremony for Richardson at the same meeting.
The council didn’t tip its hand on which candidates its members were most impressed with. Anderson encouraged all 12 to stay engaged in city government if they aren’t selected, as other opportunites will arise.
Four council seats, including this one, will be up for election in November.Christian Hill: 253-274-7390 christian.hill@ thenewstribune.com @TNTchill