City Manager Selection Details Emerge

What does the timeline for installing a new city manager mean for the candidates?

Suppose we should mention how yesterday the mayor's office released a memo detailing the timeline and selection process for hiring Austin's next city manager. Wonks and inside ballplayers less than sympathetic to current management (you know, BTP's only readers) were concerned the search terms might be such that they'd give a certain "internal" candidate the home-field advantage. What's the verdict?

Jan. 3 or 4, search firm Arcus brings back their big-book of applicants for the city to peruse; in executive session, City Council will "narrow the list of external candidates to a manageable number of the most superior candidates (perhaps as few as three) for the first round of face-to-face interviews." But the city has also created a separate track for "internal" candidates to apply; they "look forward to as many as three highly-qualified current City employees applying." It seems to us that reserving a default place in the semifinals for the top city applicant(s), alongside the top applicants in the known universe, is a little bit of an edge.

The other hurdle for external candidates comes Jan. 8 and 9, when the city begins their first round of face-to-face interviews. Yes, you read that right; applicants hoping for the gig have five days to hightail it down to Texas for their close-up. Considering that Arcus was tasked with bring back the best – i.e., people possibly already employed in high-profile gigs – this rapid turn-around might make for some scheduling difficulties – I mean, if you're the assistant city manager to Wonderland USA, you might have problems taking time off. What if the rainbow-waterfall is on the fritz? But if you're a real leader, wizard, Batman, or whatever council's looking for, you should be able to swing that shit, right?

After that, council narrows it down to the top two applicants. Final interviews and presentations come Jan. 16; council will make their decision and announce their selection at the regularly scheduled council meeting the next day, Jan. 17. Excitement!

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City Manager Search, City Council, Laura Huffman, Arcus, City Staff

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