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(Neb)-Chadron Council Decides To Do City Manager Search Itself

By: John Axtell Posted at: 05/16/2017 10:38 AM
CHADRON - After spending 4-1/2 hours in their previous meeting two weeks ago, the Chadron City Council met for just under 5 hours last night...but the reason for the lengthy session was a little different this time.

      While one issue alone - a roundabout at the junction of Highways 20 and 385 - took up about 3 hours at the earlier meeting, last night's session had 5 issues lasting at least half an hour each including a total of 2 hours on budget presentations for streets, police, and the Aquatics and Wellness Center.

     Running the longest was the selection of a consultant to help with the search process for a new city manager, just over an hour of quiet but occasionally rancorous debate that ended with a 3-2 decision to try to do the job themselves.

        Chadron had received Requests For Proposal from 4 firms which were reviewed by Mayor John Coates and councilman Keith Crofutt. They recommended JD Gray of Frisco, Texas, the same firm used last year by Sidney and Alliance, at a cost of $22,000 that could be lowered a few thousand through teleconferencing.

        Crofutt and Miles Bannan were adamant that the city should hire a consultant to provide expertise, handle the vetting or due diligence review of the applicants, and - especially important to Bannan - eliminate the possible perception of bias for any specific candidate by those who've claimed in the past that Chadron is controlled by a "bunch of good ol' boys."

     Just as adamant that a consultant wasn't needed - especially at over $20,000 - were Mark Werner, who reminded his colleagues that while in the military he'd hired individuals for the highest levels of government positions, and George Klein, who worried a consultant might automatically dismiss a highly capable local applicant who lacked the type of experience listed in the job specifications.

     Mayor Coates preferred the idea of the council going through the dozen applications already received from candidates in 5 states, then turning to the consultant if no one from that pool proved acceptable to the full council.

      That approach was the final choice and a special meeting was set up for this Friday at 2:00 for the council to create a weighted matrix of strengths and preferences to be used in the selection of the new city manager with a goal of acting on the current pool of applicants at the next regular council meeting on June 5th.


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