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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 8 months ago

Council prepares to select search firm to find successor to City Manager Jim Landon

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The council plans to select Landon's replacement by the summer of 2019.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Palm Coast is preparing to choose the search firm it will use to find a successor to City Manager Jim Landon.

Landon wants to leave his position by the summer of 2019, and the council has agreed to work on his timeline and bring in a replacement at around the time he plans to retire.

The city plans to release a request for proposal for a search firm next month. 

Landon has said in previous meetings that he wanted to time his retirement to coincide roughly with the time his granddaughter will graduate from high school.

City Council members — and Landon himself — suggested some adjustments to the process during the council’s Jan. 9 workshop.

Mayor Milissa Holland suggested the city look beyond the firms commonly used for such searches in Florida.

One important element of choosing a firm, she said, is “how we’re ... going to put this process out to the universe as far as who’s going to be viewing this. ... It’s not just going to be those standard 10 Florida companies that are at every Florida League of Cities ... I think we can do better than that.” 

“I totally agree, we need to not just do what you normally do to find a search firm,” City Attorney Bill Reischmann said. The council, he said, will control the process “all the way through.”

City Councilman Steve Nobile said part of the value of whatever firm the city chooses would be in helping the five council members come to a consensus on what kind of candidate they should be searching for.

“They’ve got to figure out ... how do we take these five ideas and get you all to compromise ... because that’s what it’s going to be,” Nobile said.

Landon suggested eliminating a requirement that his successor have experience as a city manager in Florida, saying that the city could search more broadly.

“I like what I’m hearing,” he said. “I think you’re right on target on not saying, ‘OK, this is what we want’ and then you go find it. But you have two key questions, or two key things that you need to be comfortable with, whoever you select. First and foremost, how are they going to pull together some consensus of five individuals with five different opinions on what you’re looking for? ... What they put together will greatly determine whether you get an engineer type or you get an innovation type. ... Second is how they go find that particular skill set or that particular personality.”

For the RFP for choosing the firm, he suggested “putting in there something about growth, growing a community — growth and infrastructure ... ‘What have you done to demonstrate you can find these kinds of people.’”

Holland said the city should make sure it markets itself well to potential manager candidates.  

“I think we offer a great quality of life here for anyone who wants to live here, work here, and represent a great city,” she said. “I think we have to sell ourselves as well through this process.”

City staff plans to return to the council in about two weeks with a proposed RFP.

 

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