Potential city manager candidates will be deterred by the political divide over what to do about the job, a recruitment specialist told the Joliet City Council on Monday.
“For me to stand here and say you are going to get top candidates, I can’t tell you that,” GovHR USA CEO Joellen Cademartori said.
Cademartori said the revolving door that has developed at the city manager’s office in the past year and council controversies over the position could hurt recruitment.
She said the council should wait six months before seeking candidates, but added that the city could move faster if the council came to a consensus over what to do about the city manager position.
“If you can come to consensus, then I suggest you go forward,” Cademartori said.
Whether to hire GovHR USA to recruit candidates may be a test for council consensus.
Council member Larry Hug suggested that the council may need to go through a “cooling off period” before advertising the job. But other council members said it was time to get moving.
“If we don’t get good candidates then we don’t choose anyone. Then, we just start the process over,” council member Terry Morris said. “I think we need to do something. I think we need to move this train down the track.”
Joliet has not had a permanent city manager since October, when David Hales left after less than a year on the job.
GovHR USA was the recruitment firm used in the search that brought Hales. Because Hales left early, Gov HR USA is offering its services again at a lowered rate – $2,500 to seek candidates or up to $10,000 for its assistance in the review process.
Another test for council consensus may be whether interim City Manager Steve Jones stays in the job.
On Tuesday, the council will decide whether to provide an employment agreement to Jones to continue to serve as interim city manager until a permanent city manager is hired.
Jones, who has been interim city manager since City Attorney Martin Shanahan was removed from the interim position in June, does not want the job.
But his duties in his regular position as deputy city manager require that he step in when the city manager office is vacated. That has raised some questions as to why an employment agreement would have to be drawn up to keep him in the position.
The council met in a closed session Monday to discuss the Jones agreement without disclosing details of what’s in it.
Jones is reported to be seeking an arrangement where he eventually can work as a contracted employee for the city on economic development matters.