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Search for new city manager underway

Give him some credit. Recently-departed city manager Taylour Tedder may have left with just a few weeks of notice, but he did try to begin a process for finding his replacement as one of his final acts.

“Prior to our former City Manager Taylour Tedder’s departure, he reached out to several recruiting firms to identify their interest in submitting proposals to the city to find his replacement,” Acting City Manager Michael Mays told the council on Tuesday.

Four firms submitted detailed proposals. The firms proposed finding a replacement in a time frame of three-to-four months at a cost to the city of between $28,000 and $35,000.

In this action, city staff was seeking direction from the council. Their choices were to choose one firm and then city staff would seek to enter into a contract with them, and they could then come to the council to discuss how to move forward. The other choice was to have multiple firms make presentations to the council before they made a decision.

Councilmember Cokie Booth advocated the latter approach. “I would like to see us bring a couple in and actually interview them to see exactly what they have to say and exactly what they offer instead of just trying to pick one here.”

Councilmember Steve Walton said he could support that approach but then said that based on the materials already presented, he had a preference already.

The firms being considered are Raftelis (the firm that did the rate study for the city’s utilities last year), Strategic Government Resources, Developmental Associates LLC, GovHR and Ralph Anderson and Associates. Walton threw his initial support behind Developmental Associates.

One reason is longevity. Walton pointed out that the firm he was backing claimed that more than 96% of the more than 300 executives they had placed were still in their positions after five years or had been promoted to a higher position within the same organization.

It is a major consideration for a small city that has seen a lot of executive turnover.

In 2017, both City Manager David Fraser and City Attorney Dave Olsen left within four months of each other and when Fraser had been on the job just four months. (Olsen left shortly after the city council and key staff members were required by the State Ethics Commission to take a remedial ethics class for the second time after the city was dinged by the commission multiple times for ethics violations. Fraser quit right after it was alleged in public comment that a different city administrator, who did not live in Boulder City, was being allowed to sleep in a closet inside City Hall on weekends.

The replacements for the two, former city manager Al Noyola and former city attorney (and current candidate for justice of the peace) Steve Morris were fired by the council in 2020. Current City Attorney Brittany Walker replaced Morris and Tedder replaced Noyola.

In total, assuming that a replacement for Tedder is found during 2024, that is five city managers and three city attorneys in a period of just eight years.

According to Mays, Developmental Associates also offers a form of guarantee with their proposal, including a stipulation that if the person they recruit does not stay in the position for at least two years, the firm would do another recruitment process free of charge.

The council voted unanimously to direct city staff to set up presentations from Developmental Associates and Raftelis.

Pending availability from representatives of the firm, those presentations could occur as soon as the May 28 city council meeting.

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