January 25th 2016- Town Manager Search Committee Progress Report
Greetings and a belated Happy New Year Town of Hartford Citizens,
On behalf of the Town of Hartford Town Manager Search Committee (TMSC) we wanted to share with you the progress we have made over the last couple of months and where we stand with the job that was assigned to us by the Select Board (SB). That job was essentially two parts. The first was to seek the input of as many town citizens as possible as to what they want in a town manager and the second was to do what it takes to seek out quality candidates from around the country, review and analyze their credentials, interview the best of them and recommend a few finalists to the SB. Early on we met with Town Department Heads, Town Employees, School District Administrators and other groups to hear what they had to say in group meetings and, in the case of employees, see what they had to write on Feedback Forms we developed if they chose not to attend one of the meetings. In October we held four Community Forums seeking citizen input on the qualities they would like to see in our new town manager. We also sought the input of the Business Community through an email blitz and also from a significant number of former SB members during the course of our weekly scheduled public meetings. These all coincided with having Feedback Forms on the Town of Hartford Website available to all of our citizens. We received considerable feedback throughout the process and have used it accordingly.
As noted in an earlier report, with the SB’s approval we hired an Executive Search firm, The Mercer Group that has significant experience in the Municipal Government and Public Administration Industry, to professionally organize and carry on the search for our new town manager on a nationwide basis. The firm opened the application process in mid-October and closed it out mid-December. They received over 40 application packages to review, analyze and sent the top 10 to the TMSC. The committee members began our individual reviews between Christmas and New Year and then met January 6th to review our assessments as a group and to determine those candidates we wanted to interview. During that meeting and our meeting on January 13th we developed questions for the interviews based on all the feedback we had received over the last few months. At our instruction the Mercer Group made the arrangements with the candidates and we scheduled interviews last Friday, 1/15 and Saturday, 1/16. In our minds, the interviews went splendidly.
This past Tuesday evening, 1/19, we, the TMSC, made formal recommendation to the SB of our 3 finalists for their consideration. The SB will deliberate with Mercer this week and is in the process of scheduling interviews with the 3 finalists. The TMSC is unanimous in our opinion that all 3 finalist candidates are top quality people from all perspectives and any one of the 3 will be a wonderful addition to our town. The SB will have a tough decision to make with the ultimate hire but at the same time whichever one they choose is more than capable of leading the Town of Hartford.
While the TMSC mission is essentially complete, we have all agreed that when the new manager is hired, we will spend a good deal of time with them to discuss and review all of the feedback we have received from all of you. While it was very apparent to us that each of them possesses a great deal of the strengths, attributes and characteristics that you all feel are necessary, we want to reiterate the suggestions we heard from all of you to help them understand the pulse of the town’s people and ease their transition in every way possible.
Thanks and regards to you all,
Kevin Raleigh, Town of Hartford, TMSC Chair
Elizabeth Rathburn, Vice Chair