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Council votes to piggyback city manager search

By Staff | Dec 13, 2011

Cape Coral City Council unanimously voted to piggyback a contract with Madeira Beach, Fla., to search for the new city manager.

The city will use Colin Baenziger and Associates, a Florida-based search firm specializing in recruiting top executives. The firm performs the function across the United States and will be paid $20,000 for its services.

According to City Finance Director Victoria Bateman, the same process would cost $18,000 to $20,000 if performed in-house. City Council could have a group of candidates to choose from within 60-90 days, she said, adding that the Request for Proposal process itself could take up to six months.

“We’re pretty comfortable with the contract,” Bateman said.

Sean Baenzinger, the company’s vice president of research, said the firm will meet individually with council members to get a feel for their wants and needs from the city top executive.

He said Cape Coral’s new city manager would require a different set of skills and expertise than that of the candidates for Medeira Beach and the pool of candidates would not be the same for the two communities.

Baenzinger said the firm recently finished searching for a city manager in Tacoma, Wash.

“We’ll find out what the challenges are for Cape Coral … and reach out to those people who would be a good fit for the city,” he added.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman is currently serving in the role of interim city manager.

He suggested piggybacking the contract last week during City Council’s workshop meeting.

The position of the city’s top executive became available when Gary King was terminated without cause Dec. 2.

Councilmember Marty McClain said the term “piggyback” was a bit of a misnomer, as this is more of a time and money saving option that gets the process rolling rather quickly.

“What I’ve read is quite impressive,” McClain said of Colin Baenzinger and Associates. “We get their expertise and they get to help select a city manager for the 11th largest city in Florida.”

Baenzinger said the company will likely bring five candidates before the council for its approval once the search process is completed. That process is expected to begin almost immediately.