Thursday, November 15, 2001

Luken asks to use firm in search

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Mayor Charlie Luken will ask City Council today for permission to hire a local executive search firm to help select the next city manager.

        The Angus Group will be paid $40,000 to write a job description, conduct a nationwide search and screen candidates for city manager.

        Mr. Luken also asked Tim Riordan, the finance director and acting deputy city manager, to be the interim city manager starting Dec. 1, when John Shirey leaves City Hall after eight years.

        Mr. Riordan told the mayor Wednesday that he's still deciding whether to accept the job and will give the mayor an answer today.

        Mr. Luken will lead the search for a city manager under the new “strong mayor” form of government that gives him power to initiate the hiring and firing of the city manager.

        Wednesday, in his first public indication of how the search process will work, Mr. Luken said his choice of the Angus Group reflects his desire to give local candidates strong consideration.

        “This is a local firm with a national reputation,” he said. “I never felt the national firms gave our local candidates enough emphasis.”

        Mr. Luken has made no secret that he thinks highly of internal candidates like Peg Moertl, the director of the Department of Neighborhood Services, and Mr. Riordan — although he said he hasn't explicitly talked to them about the job.

        The Angus Group's experience is mostly in “headhunting” for private sector clients. But Angus also led the searches that brought Laura Long to the Cincinnati Business Committee and Pat Timm to the Metropolitan Growth Alliance.

        Pete Nadherny, a partner in the Angus Group, said the process starts with a good job description. In this case, the city manager's job description is spelled out in the city charter, but the process will also take into account the “intangibles.”

        “We want to make sure the candidates are not only qualified, but that they really fit into the culture of the organization,” Mr. Nadherny said.

        Mr. Luken said he expects Angus to come up with a “short list” of three to five candidates.

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