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Three firms still in running to recruit Stilwell’s successor

By Staff | May 12, 2009

The Lee County Commission has begun the process to find a permanent replacement for former Lee County Manager Don Stilwell.
Commissioners narrowed the list of potential recruiting firms to aid in the search from five to three Monday.
The firms are Colin Baenziger & Associates, Slavin Management Consultants and Ralph Andersen & Associates. The fees for their services range in price from $14,000 to $28,000.
Of the three, Colin Baenziger & Associates is the only firm based in Florida.
Commissioners directed interim Lee County Manager Karen Hawes and Lee County Attorney David Owen to interview the firms and make a recommendation in three weeks.
Once a firm is selected, the board will determine how to move forward with the hiring process and establish a selection committee.
“This is an employee who needs to work for us and the citizens of this community,” Commissioner Tammy Hall said. “So we need to include the public in this process.”
Part of the debate Monday circled around how to best involve the public in the process.
Hawes suggested having candidates answer questions online after being interviewed by commissioners, giving residents to the opportunity to “talk” with the applicants.
The board agreed with Hawes, but thought an “in box” approach would be more feasible.
Citizens would be able to hand in copies of their questions in person, or send them to commissioners via the Internet.
Commissioners decided to let the selected firm work out the kinks as the process moves along.
“We’re all certainly limited with our experience in this kind of thing,” Commissioner Frank Mann said. “I’m comfortable with a team of people (figuring things out) who have played in the big leagues.”
Hawes added that the fees and reputations of the recruiting firms are comparable, and she will be able to make a recommendation in three weeks.
“I’m certainly motivated with getting the timeline going,” she said.