October 7, 2015- Town Manager Search Committee Progress Report
Greetings Fellow Town of Hartford Citizens,
On behalf of the Town of Hartford Town Manager Search Committee (TMSC) I wanted to share with you the progress we have made since our last Progress Report submitted and posted on September 17th. As noted in that report we had chosen an Executive Search Firm to professionally organize and carry on the search for our new town manager on a nationwide basis. The firm that was chosen was the Mercer Group, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia but with numerous offices throughout the United States and significant recent local and northeast search projects experience. The firm, which is very highly regarded in the industry, came along with glowing references from our neighbors, the City of Lebanon and the Town of Hanover; both of which had utilized his company for Police Chief Searches and the Town Manager position in Lebanon. Our Select Board approved the contract with Mercer after the TMSC recommendation and a formal contract was signed in September between the parties. The scope of the work of the Search Firm on our behalf and the guarantees that were made to us in their proposal were significant and most appealing. The cost was below the recommended and approved budget submitted to the SB at their 9/15 meeting by the TMSC. Jim Mercer, the company principal who will be personally engaged in, and leading our search, will be returning to Hartford on Monday, October 12th and will be given a tour of the town the following day by some of the search committee members before meeting that evening with the SB at their scheduled 10/13 meeting. Jim has finished a first draft of a town brochure that will be utilized in attracting the town manager job applicants that will clearly define the job description, desired qualifications, attributes and skills sought, pay ranges, benefits and most importantly will include a narrative of what our great town has to offer for someone choosing to come here. We have reviewed the draft and offered a few minor suggestions to revise some bullet points. There will also be some pictures of some of our iconic landmarks, businesses and picturesque landscapes to further entice an applicant to consider living in what we all know is such a great community.
After meeting with all town department heads in mid-September, we have subsequently met with most town employees and have received some tremendous feedback from them on what they consider to be the skills and leadership qualities that are needed by our next town manager to be successful. We have also met with some School District Administrators who work closely with the town manager in the normal course of business and who have a great deal of collaborative efforts with the various town departments. We also met with leadership at Quechee Lakes Landowners Association, another organization that has much collaboration with the Town and the Town Manager. We were extremely pleased with the insights we received from all of these individuals and groups and were amazed at the commonality of the perceived skill sets and leadership characteristics they thought were necessary of the “Ideal Town Manager” Candidates”.
We have also scheduled some Community Forums for the public at large to solicit your feedback and engage you in the process. On the evening of Wednesday, 10/21 we will hold 3 simultaneous meetings at 6:30 at the Quechee Library, the West Hartford Library and the Hartford Town Offices that are open to anyone in the town to attend. We hope that you can find the time to come and visit with us and have some good dialogue about what you consider to be the necessary requirements for the person who will be hired to lead our town for the immediate and foreseeable future. We will also have formal feedback forms at all sites to have written documentation of your important perspectives. If you can’t attend any of these meetings, we have the feedback form available on the Town Website thanks to our Town I&T Director, James Gerjevic and we encourage you to submit your thoughts. It’s pretty easy (even a technologically deficient nummy like me was able to use it). We are also going to be part of a larger Community Forum organized by the Hartford Community Coalition that will be held at the VA Hospital Conference Room on Monday, 10/26 at 6:30 P.M.
Last, but not least, we will be sending the feedback forms to as many town of Hartford Business Owners as we can to solicit their thoughts and maybe slightly differing perspectives. We hope to have that in motion by the beginning of next week.
Please call me or any member of the search committee if you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at my office at Mascoma Savings Bank most days at 802-280-4209 or at home at 802-295-7324.
Thanks and best regards to all of you,
Kevin Raleigh, Chair Town Manager Search Committee