National firms bid to recruit new Aspen city manager |

National firms bid to recruit new Aspen city manager

Sara Ott in the interim city manager until the city of Aspen finds a permanent solution.

Seven national recruitment firms have submitted proposals to the Aspen government to help it find a new city manager.

The request for proposals closed March 4. Now it’s up to a committee to review the proposals and pick a firm, said Alissa Farrell, the city’s human resource director.

The committee is comprised of Farrell, Mayor Steve Skadron, Councilman Ward Hauenstein and the city’s deputy director of human resources, Courtney DeVito.

The proposals, which have bid amounts between $20,000 and $26,500, are sealed and not viewable by the public.

“The next step is for the subcommittee to review the proposals and whittle it down to four and proceed with interviews,” Farrell said.

The schedule that’s been presented to council has April 8 as when the selection of the recruitment firm will be announced. On April 15, a contract is scheduled to be signed and council will approve the selection April 22.

It will likely be a new Aspen City Council that selects the next city manager. Newly elected members who won a seat in the March 5 election, along with whoever is elected mayor in the April 2 runoff, will be sworn in the second week of June.

A national search is expected to take months.

Sara Ott is currently the acting city manager, a position she took after longtime head administrator Steve Barwick was asked to resign by a majority of council in January.

His last day was March 8. He had been acting in an advisory role since council voted to have him to leave his post after 19 years.

His departure was a result of politics leading into the election, with a series missteps made by his office, and a lack of communication with elected officials and the public.

The city manager is appointed and serves at the pleasure of council in what’s called a council-manager form of government.

Ott is not part of the recruiting process because she may apply for the job. Before taking the interim position, she was assistant city manager and will return to that job if she doesn’t become city manager.

“If she applies she should not be involved,” said City Attorney Jim True.

In addition to price, the committee will consider the firms’ methodologies and strategies to attract a diverse and wide range of qualified candidates, according to the city’s request for proposals.

The city wants the head-hunting firms to develop a position profile, and explain how they target candidates through the use of social media, advertising and community involvement.

The recruitment firms are from all over the country, including Peckham & McKenney Inc. of Glenwood Springs.

The others are Illinois-based GovHr USA, Georgia-based Slavin Management Consultants, Minnesota-based Springsted Human Capital Advisors Incorporated, New Mexico-based The Mercer Group, Inc., Ohio-based The Novak Consulting Group and Centennial-based Zilo International Group.