Camas City Council approves contract with consultant

Camas begins its second city administrator search effort

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins is hoping a $23,000 contract with a consulting company to conduct the search for a new city administrator will lead to a better result than the last effort.

On Monday night, the Camas City Council approved the agreement with Waldron, a human resources consulting firm with an office in Portland. The company has expertise in conducting job recruitment efforts with public, private and non-profit entities.

The scope of work of the contract includes the creation of a recruiting specification and brochure, distribution of marketing materials, recruitment and development of a list of potential candidates, pre-interviews, and reference and background checks.

Higgins said the company’s efforts will likely deliver five to six top qualified candidates who will then go through a public vetting process, the details of which have not been determined yet.

Heather Gantz, Waldron senior consultant, said the process will kick off with meetings between consultants and City Council members, city staff and other key stakeholders to flush out the selling points of the job.

“We really need to develop the story to entice people to come here,” she said.

The two-year contract between Waldron and the city includes a one-year search guarantee.

Recently, Waldron has completed city manager searches for Oregon municipalities including Damascus, Medford, Sherwood and Silverton. Higgins said the firm has also worked with the City of Vancouver and other Southwest Washington communities.

This marks the second time the city has embarked on a process to find a new city administrator to replace Lloyd Halverson, who announced in January his plans to retire.

In July, following a 2.5 month in-house search process, Higgins announced that the effort resulted in two finalists but failed to produce a candidate “suitable to the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for the City of Camas.”

He said he believes the expertise of Waldron’s consultants will lead to a better outcome for the city this time around.

“We did a good process last time, but we weren’t able to reach as many people as they will be able to reach,” he said. “We really didn’t get a deep pool of candidates and we are hoping to change that. This will bring us more exposure to more people and more markets.”

Higgins estimated that the first search conducted primarily by city staff cost approximately $1,500.

Halverson, who has been Camas’ only city administrator, had originally planned to leave behind full-time work in September, but agreed to continue through early spring 2013 when the first search for his replacement didn’t pan out.

Higgins said with Waldron’s assistance the goal is to present a job offer to the top candidate in December and have he or she begin work in Camas in the first quarter of 2013.