MLT City Council to seek recruiting firm to lead city manager search; interim city manager appointed

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With current City Manager John Caulfield set to leave his post at the end of the month, the Mountlake Terrace City Council took action on Monday to begin the search for a new city manager. The council voted 7-0 to seek a recruiting firm to manage the search process.

The city will begin accepting proposals, most likely in September, from firms who specialize in the recruitment of candidates for government administrative offices. The City Council would then select one firm to coordinate the advertising, recruitment and interview process for a new city manager.

Caulfield, who is leaving Mountlake Terrace to take the city manager position for the City of Lakewood in Pierce County, said that contracting with an outside, independent recruiting firm would cost the city between $15,000 and $20,000 – and would be money well spent by the city.

“The search firm could do a little bit better job in reaching out into the industry of who’s available and who’s not available, as opposed to doing in internally,” Caulfield advised. Recruiting firms can also initially screen prospective candidates for specific characteristics or experience that city leaders may want in a new ity manager, and can conduct more thorough background checks on candidates than city Human Resources staff could do, Caulfield said.

A recruiting firm could be selected as early as late September, Caulfield stated, allowing applications for the city manager position to be accepted as early as October. Interviews with the City Council could then take place in November, and would include any potentially newly-elected council members from the Nov. 5 general election.

With Caulfield stepping down from the post on Aug. 31, the Mountlake Terrace City Council Monday unanimously appointed current Assistant City Manager Scott Hugill to serve as  Interim City Manager until a permanent manager is selected. Hugill will begin the job Sept. 3.

Councilmembers pointed to Hugill’s experience with the city, familiarity with the staff and positive relationships with department heads as reasons for his appointment.

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