MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, September 19, 2011
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Silbiger, Morris, Lemhouse, and Voisin were present. Councilor Slattery arrived at 5:34 p.m. Councilor Chapman was absent.
1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Does Council have questions about whether or not they should authorize an agreement with The Water Consulting Group, Inc. for professional recruitment services at a bid price of $21,500 plus direct reimbursement of expenses?
Human Resource Manager Tina Gray explained The Waters Consulting Group had previously recruited the Fire Chief and IT Director positions. Using them to recruit the new City Administrator and Assistant City Administrator positions would eliminate two months of interim salary by not going out for bid, and provide a two-for-one discount for the recruitment.
Currently staff was searching for an Interim City Administrator. Council had the option of recruiting an individual who was not interested in applying for the permanent position or using the interim position to test-drive a potential candidate. City Administrator Martha Bennett anticipated she would have 2-3 candidates within the next two weeks.
Ms. Bennett responded to a concern the recruitment firm was not located in Oregon and described issues the City experienced previously using California and Oregon recruitment firms that were not successful.
She went on to explain the $21,000 included all the professional fees for normal recruitment and that anything outside of scope was $1,500 per day. The contract had three site visits scheduled and The Waters Consulting Group was prepared to stay additional days if needed at no extra charge. If a hired candidate left within 12 months, the City would receive a full refund, if the candidate left within the second 12 months The Waters Consulting Group would conduct the new recruitment at half the cost. Additionally the firm would never recruit a hired candidate to another company.
Ms. Gray explained developing the profile would consist of meetings with City staff, Council, and stakeholders in the community and an open house involving citizens. Council would provide the recruiter with individual lists of qualities they wanted and did not want in a candidate. Ms. Gray would forward the profiles used for the current City Administrator and Fire Chief positions to Council as an example. The timeline targeted the end of November to close recruitment, background checks in December, interviews conducted in January, and a new City Administrator by March 2012.
3. Does Council have questions about the City’s transition to a two-year budget process?
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained Council could choose to delay the biennial budget one year to run consistently with the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) rate changes. PERS established rate changes a year in advance and staff could do cost projections. If Council chose to start a biennial budget in 2013, staff would mitigate PERS rate changes through savings transfers and fees in funds with excessive costs and other expenditures.
Staff explained establishing a biennial budget would not bind future Councils. They could always revert to annual budgets.
Mr. Tuneberg shared research on agencies using biennial budgets that were successful. Council would still have to levy taxes each year with a biennial budget.
Council majority suggested delaying the biennial budget one year to align with PERS and possibly have a virtual two-year budget as a learning curve for 2012-13. Council wanted to hear problems other cities incurred going to a biennial budget. Staff was unaware of any city that had returned to an annual budget after trying biennial budgets. Council could make mid cycle adjustments if needed. City Attorney Dave Lohman confirmed Council could adopt a resolution to start biennial budgets Fiscal Year 2013-15.
Meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder