08/12/04 — City lists qualities for future manager

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City lists qualities for future manager

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 12, 2004 1:59 PM

Education, experience and computer expertise are some of the qualities the Goldsboro City Council says it wants in a new city manager.

Council members spent time Wednesday listing the qualities needed in a city manager and the important issues facing the city.

The board met with Jim Mercer, owner of the Mercer Group, who is heading up the city's search for a new city manager.

City Manager Richard Slozak will retire Dec. 30, after working for the city for 33 years.

The first step in the process was to talk with council members and find out what they wanted in a manager.

Mayor Al King thought the city needed someone with a master's degree in public administration and five years experience as a manager or as an assistant city manager.

Councilman Bob Waller thought experience in finance and a familiarity with state laws was necessary, and Councilman Charles Williams thought the manager must know how to deal with diverse people and cultures.

Waller also thought the manager should have computer knowledge, so the city's computer system could be updated.

Councilman Jimmy Bryan said he would like to see someone young hired, with the possibility of working with the city for a while.

Waller said he would also want someone with experience in water and sewer matters, so the city could continue to be a leader in those areas.

Bryan and Waller listed the emphasis on city cleanup and restoration as one of the issues facing the city.

The council said that it also must maintain a good relationship with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Councilman Jackie Warrick said that good communication skills and the ability to handle citizens' complaints were also necessary.

After Wednesday's meeting with the council, Mercer was planning to interview department heads to get their input regarding a city manager.

He also will talk with Slozak at some point.

After determining the desired traits of a city manager, the firm will advertise the position in a number of publications.

In addition, the company will actively recruit potential candidates.

The field of applicants will be winnowed down to about 10, and the firm will go over that list with the council. The list will be cut again to about five candidates.

The council will then interview each of the remaining candidates.

Before the interviews begin, an extensive background check will be conducted on the candidates, Mercer said.

Though Mercer won't participate in the interview process, he said he would observe and give feedback to the council after the interviews.