Colin Baenziger and Associates to help select candidates
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE - In a unanimous vote held on Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Melbourne City Council finished its executive search firm selection, picking Colin Baenziger and Associates of Wellington to help find a new city manager this fall.
In January, Melbourne City Manager Jack Schluckebier announced his plans to retire after providing a decade of service to residents of Melbourne.
At the Tuesday night meeting, Colin Baenziger and Associates and Slavin Management and Consultants, the top two ranked firms in the search, made their cases for why they should be the organization the city of Melbourne chooses to search for the new city manager.
"What we offer, basically, is to bring you the best people," said Colin Baenziger, owner of Colin Baeziger and Associates, to members of the council. "What we want to do is make your life difficult in one way only: when you choose from the candidates we bring to you."
The company proposed $21,500 to the council, all expenses, excluding travel expenses for a particular candidate or what the council chooses to spend on a candidate once he or she arrives.
Mr. Baenziger proposed a salary range of $140,000 to $240,000 for the new city manager, but said he is willing to find someone for a lower salary if the council wishes.
Mr. Baenziger said his company will perform in-depth background checks on the candidates he finds for the council. However, Mr. Baenziger said the amount of scrutiny his company performs on a candidate in no way interferes with deadlines.
"We have never missed a project milestone. We do thorough background checks," he said. "It has been a long time since we have had a problem with any background check."
Originally, Councilman Mark LaRusso proposed Slavin Management and Consultants for the position but said he was willing to vote with the rest of the council for Mr. Baenzinger's company.
"Both (companies) were qualified. I was just looking for new eyes from the other firm. (Baenzinger)had worked with the city before, so I was worried how that would interact with some of the council," he said, following the Aug. 14 meeting. "We don't always agree, but that is the beauty of city government. I'm thrilled with the decision."
Mr. Baezinger originally promised that, if the city manager he finds for the council decides to quit, is fired or anything happens to he or she, other than death, within one year of hiring, he would replace the city manager's position at no cost. However, he later promised he would do this for two years instead of one after it learning that his company's competition, Slavin Management Consultants, would replace the position at no cost for two years after the original hire date.
When Bob Slavin of Slavin Management and Consultants, in Norcross, GA, made his proposal to the council, he said the Sunshine Laws of the state of Florida, which are laws requiring regulatory authorities' meetings, decisions and records to be made available to the public, could be a problem in the hiring process.
"Some candidates require confidentiality. If you apply for a job here in Florida, the press is going to immediately pick up that person's resume," Mr. Slavin said. "It does create transparency."
Mr. Baenzinger said his company would provide council members with six to eight candidates at a time to choose from, based upon characteristics the council is looking for, and that he would personally be their point of contact during the search.
"I'm your lead (person). If we get (another contract), someone else will have to deal with it," he said. "Oddly enough, after I have met with each of (the council members), you will all have pretty similar traits you are looking for. You may disagree with some of the issues today, but, when it comes to the future, you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for."
The company will begin its search to find a new city manager by early next year.