Council close to hiring a new city manager

The city has received 76 applications from people looking to fill the city's top job. With interviews beginning Friday, a new city manager could be selected as early as next week.

Council members have gone through all 76 resumes to narrow the candidates down to eight to be interviewed on Friday. It will be an all-day meeting that will be closed to the public, said Mayor Jac Siegel.

The top three selected on Friday will be interviewed all day on Tuesday, first by city department heads in the morning, then by the council again in the afternoon. During lunch, the council will hear the pros and cons of the finalists from the perspective of city department heads.

"In the afternoon we will meet with them individually and hopefully we can all agree on who is the best candidate," Siegel said. "If we are not happy with the candidates we have we will go out again," to seek applicants, or take another look at the others who applied.

The meetings will all be closed to the public in order to respect each candidate's privacy. Many may not want their current employers to know they are looking for a new job, Siegel said.

On paper the candidates appear to be impressive. "Some are very highly experienced, very highly qualified," Siegel said.

None of the candidates are city of Mountain View employees.

Siegel said the top eight candidates are primarily men, as was the entire pool, and all but two are California residents. Most are from Northern California. They include university administrators, assistant city managers, a finance director and city managers currently employed with other cities, large and small. Siegel said council members were shocked to see some of the names on the list.

The council may announce that a selection has been made Tuesday, but the person's name will not be released until background checks and negotiations over compensation are complete, Siegel said. The council may make a compensation offer to the selected candidate on Tuesday.

"If we do come to a decision by next week, we could have somebody on board by July," Siegel said.

The city's 20-year city manager, Kevin Duggan, retired in April. Assistant city manager Melissa Stevenson-Dile has taken the job in the interim.


Posted by Duke, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

The new city manager definitely must have a good standing relation with Google.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 6:26 am

With the last city manager making the highest paid salary as a city manager in Santa Clara, why would the city council be surprised at the applicants. It's all about the public employee gravy train.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

Re Observer:
Not only was Kevin the highest paid but he was also one of the longest serving City Managers in the County--20 years with Mountain View when the average City Manager only lasts 5 years. Which means? Drum Roll!! You got it! he started with the City with an average City Managers salary and due to basic COLA increases, which everyone gets, he makes a lot more today.

It's snide remarks like yours--not so Observer-- that don't do the debate any good!

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

So if he stayed 30 years, his salary would be what? $500,000 a year? The sky's the limit? The Chief of Police is one of the highest paid. If he sticks around another 1-0-15 years, can we expect to pay him another $500,000 a year? You forget that these are public employees. Are you saying that all long serving public employees deserve higher and higher salaries based on year of service? What about teacher? It doesn't apply to them. How does your comment add to the debate?

Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 5, 2011 at 9:58 am

Instead of focusing just on salaries, we should also be focusing on results. The record shows that under Kevin Duggan's term as City Manager, Mountain View has become one of the most successful cities of its size in the country, blessed with high property values, a vibrant downtown, world class businesses, and overall a great place to live.

A discussion of salaries without a requisite analysis of the results achieved, misses the forest for the trees.

I don't mind paying for quality, I just don't like paying for mediocre or substandard performance.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

Salaries should always be tied to performance, even though it may not be the case in the public sector. Even so, contrary to some thinking, there should be limits on salaries proportionate to a city's size. Duggan had every opportunity to search out a higher paying position in the public of private sector. 20 years gave Duggan plenty of time to master his job. That should not equate to him earning a higher and higher salary. Salaries in MV need to be limited, not open ended. The miss application of what-the-market-will-bear approach is what got us into this mess. The Chief of Police should consider moving to a larger police force to grow professionally and justify his salary, not stay with such a small force while getting more and more and more. The article points out that the council was surprised at the applicant pool. Is that because the very qualified applicants view the position more for the high and open-ended salary, even though a step down in terms of administration? IMO the position should be filled by a qualified and vetted individual rising up through the ranks, not a lateral type of administrator on the money trail.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Re: Observer

I suspect that you are totally unaware of this but Mountain View's financial position is better than any city in the County. Instead of being so pessimistic and uninformed about position compensation, perhaps you should consider that high applicant pool is a result of applicant doing their research and finding out that MV is in great fiscal shape when compared to most cities?

Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

"IMO the position should be filled by a qualified and vetted individual rising up through the ranks, not a lateral type of administrator on the money trail."

So your suggestion is to utilize in-breeding, not unlike the monarchy's of old, as the basis for leadership selection?

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with looking at candidates in-house as well as from the outside, but it should not be the basis for exclusion of potential candidates. For example, Kevin Duggan might not have qualified for consideration under your vetting process, since he came to Mountain View after having worked for the City of Campbell. Considering the job he has done these past 20 years, that would have been an opportunity lost for the City.

The problem, as you started to point out, is not pay alone, but is when pay is not related to performance. What's more important than just the offer, is how it will be structured to ensure that the future City Manager is rewarded for good performance, and punished for poor performance.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I never said to hire from within, only from the likes of younger professionals that have proven themselves rather than old-timers looking for a boost in salary given Duggan's high figures. We need young and ambitious candidates not going in it solely for the high salary but with the ambition to take on the unions in a tough economy. The last thing we need is a candidate hopping over from another city just looking for a pay raise. That goes on a lot in public service. And it's gotten to the point of being an old boy and girl network.

And only time will tell how financially well off the city is in 3-5 years down the road.

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