Manager Search Estimated To Take At Least 4 Months

OCEAN CITY – The city is expecting at least a four-month wait before a new city manager comes on board, as the selection process was reviewed during this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting.

Human Resources Director Wayne Evans presented the Mayor and City Council with a document outlining the search process for a new city manager. It was broken up into two different components, an internal search and accomplishing an agreement with an executive search firm for a national search.

Evans recognized the motion has already been made to move forward with a national search a few weeks ago, and the council agreed to move ahead to review the national search process.

“What we purchase by engaging a firm is their body of knowledge … their networks, their resources, and their ability to go out and target candidates that we are interested in,” Evans said.

Evans said the first step is to create or revise the job description and develop a profile of the type of candidate the city is looking for in the manager who will replace Dennis Dare, who held the post for more than two decades until he was ousted last month.

“For example, is it important to have a candidate that has a background in resort management or in a coastal area,” Evans said. “Anything that may be unique that we would want to target, any technical skills.”

A search firm will develop a marketing plan for the town in order to place Ocean City’s need for a city manager out there. The benefits in a having a search firm conduct the city’s business is that it will have networks, mailing lists and recent searches targeting candidates seeking positions like an opportunity in Ocean City already developed. He added that marketing may even pique someone’s interest who may not be seeking a job change.

“They are in the marketplace,” Evans said. “This is what they do all the time … We have got a good product to sell here. It’s a great community and a good story to tell.”

The search firm will work with the city in candidacy selection, including the collection of application, qualification screenings, and the selection and presentation of typically 15 to 20 possible candidates.

From that point, the council will review the group in concert with the search firm eventually narrowing it down to about five or less finalists, and interviews will be set up.

Evans said the council may want to think about forming a selection committee or whether to leave it in their own hands to make the final selection.

“I have talked with some search firms in time frames and some will tell you that this can be aggressively accomplished in a period of 90 days,” Evans said. “I would tend to think that this will be accomplished in the period of 120 days.”

Evans added that once the town’s new city manager is selected he or she will most likely want to give the current employer a notice lengthening the time period before the position is filled.

“So you are looking at a four- to five-month period by the time you have somebody in the seat,” he said.

Evans admitted that in researching search firm prices the process is going to cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000.

Councilwoman Mary Knight placed a motion to instruct Evans to send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the national city manager search as outlined and the council agreed in a unanimous vote.

Evans provided the Mayor and City Council with a list of over 50 search firms ranging from as close as Maryland and all the way to California.

The RFP starts out with a bang by stating the Town of Ocean City Maryland has a population of about 7,500 with a seasonal population of about 300,000, it is a dynamic community. Ocean City stretches along 10 miles of beautiful beach from the Ocean City Inlet to the Delaware state line. The community has a thriving economic development program. The Mayor and City Council hire a professional city manager to handle the daily operations of the town. The city manager also serves as the chief financial officer.

“We have been working on this for a while,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Wayne [Evans] has been working on this and I think he is ready to move forward to expedite this and do it in the right manner, and I think the council has done it right.”

Dare resigned more than a month ago after the council voted 4-3, with Brent Ashley, Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Margaret Pillas in support and Doug Cymek, Mary Knight and Lloyd Martin opposed. Although he does not have a vote, Meehan also opposed the decision.

Since Dare resigned, Meehan has been serving as acting city manager per the charter, and he will continue to be in that post until the replacement is found.