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February 2, 2013

Group eyes Clinton city administrator

CLINTON — The committee charged with finding the next city administrator for the city of Clinton met for the first time on Friday to discuss what they are looking for in a potential candidate.

The 11-member selection committee consists of Pastor Ron Lott, Fire Chief Mike Brown, Police Chief Brian Guy, Mike Rastrelli, Erin George, Dave Keefer, Rita Mulholland, Nathan Sondgeroth, Pat Lonergan and Tim Clark, all of whom were selected by the Clinton City Council.  Karen Vickers also was selected for the committee, but was not able to attend.  The were guided by human resource consultant Paul Greufe, who the council hired earlier this month to lead the process.

“Our goal is pretty simple: that we can reach out and find the best city administrator that we can possibly find,” Greufe said to the committee. “A big part of it is, you’re a part of this funnel so to speak.”

The committee will be responsible for narrowing the number of candidates until they are ready to be voted on by the city council.

During the hour and a half discussion, committee members focused on the job description, questions that will be required of the applicant to answer and the qualities they feel would be critical in a city administrator.   

The job posting called for someone with a bachelors degree in public administration or a related field with a master’s degree preferred and five years of experience in the government management function.  Committee members altered this requirement in order to allow for a candidate who may have experience managing a large business or other entity, not necessarily a municipality.

“Regardless of their experience, they are going to be hired to run a business,” Brown said. “It’s a $25 million business with 200 employees.”

Greufe plans to post the job soon on the Iowa League of Cities and International City/County Management Association websites as well as monster.com. The deadline to apply will be March 8.

The candidates will be required to travel to the city for their first interview, which will likely take place between March 25 and April 5.

All applicants will need to answer a series of questions with his or her application before they are selected for an interview.  

“Ideally...I want to know what are those areas that we have a chance to improve upon and then get some focused areas and ask some questions that are really going to get down to the crux of those issues,” Greufe said.

The candidate will need to address what about the position excites the candidate enough to move themselves and possibly their family to Clinton for the position.  

“We want somebody whose got skin in the game and wants to make a difference,” Guy said.

In addition, the applicants will be asked to share his or her approach to working with the city council to build consensus within the city as well as working with they mayor and department heads as a city administrator. The committee also wants to know how the candidates would facilitate economic growth.

 Potential candidates will be also be asked how they plan to work with the citizens, build trust and improve responsive customer service.   

“Clinton has operated so far below it’s potential,” Sondgeroth said. “A good manager will be able to see the shocking fundamentals in this town that simply through better municipal management will lead to instantaneous change.”

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