“We want to take our time,” Mayor Vaughn Stewart said. “We want to increase the number of applicants ... and make sure we leave no stones uncovered in getting the word out around the country that the city of Anniston is looking for a new city manager.”
By Saturday, the initial deadline, 41 individuals had submitted applications. Candidates now have until July 13 to apply for the top job at City Hall.
Councilwoman Millie Harris, standing at City Hall with the list of candidates in hand, said reading the applications has been a very time-consuming process.
“We’ve got some good applicants, but we would like to increase that applicant pool,” she said, noting that some of the applicants simply are not qualified.
In an effort to entice more candidates, the city is also extending the salary range for the position to a maximum of $150,000, Stewart said. The job was initially advertised at $90,000-$120,000.
“In the big scheme of things, hiring a city manager is one of the biggest decisions this council will make,” Stewart said. “Under this form of government, that’s a huge position, and we want to make sure we do it right.”
Under the city’s council-manager form of government, the City Council hires the city manager, who has the power to hire other city employees. The only other appointment the council makes is for municipal judge.
“We cannot direct department heads; we cannot direct employees,” Stewart said. “All was can do it make sure we have a qualified manager in place that will carry out the policies the council adopts as a means to move the city forward.”
Stewart said the council is looking for a progressive, forward-thinking, transformative leader with a sense of enthusiasm that can unite both city employees and the community.
Harris said she is looking for someone who has successful experience as a city manager or assistant city manager in a city comparable to Anniston, and it is important to her that a candidate have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public administration. Managerial experience as a department head and credentials from the International City/County Management Association are also pluses, she said.
More than half of the applicants have managed local governments ranging from Jupiter, Fla., to Dover, Del.
About 10 other applicants have served as assistant managers, department-level managers, or in state or federal agencies. Those with no municipal management experience come from such backgrounds as the military, construction, media, consulting and non-profits.
Harris said she’s also on the lookout for red flags like frequent job changes. Stewart noted the city’s seven managers in 15 years and said the council is looking for a candidate who will stick with the city for a significant period of time.
Hoyt said the city advertised the position on several national job banks and with municipal associations all over the region, including those in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kentucky. He said he will again advertise the position in these same locations, making note of the salary change.
Asked about the possibility of the city hiring a search firm to help lure applicants, Hoyt said he duplicated the processes he’s been through as an applicant in searches run both by cities and search firms.
“We’re basically following the same pattern that I’ve seen done time and time again,” he said. “We can hire somebody and give them a bunch of money to do the same thing.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.