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Sacramento begins search for next city manager

City Manager John Shirey holds a question and answer session about the arena proposal that kept the Kings in Sacramento. He is leaving his job in November and a search for his replacement has begun.
City Manager John Shirey holds a question and answer session about the arena proposal that kept the Kings in Sacramento. He is leaving his job in November and a search for his replacement has begun. Sacramento Bee file

The search for Sacramento’s next city manager is underway.

Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council reviewed the hiring process this week to fill the position John Shirey is vacating Nov. 18. The mayor and most of the council hope to hire his replacement in time to allow for a smooth transition period.

The city hired Ralph Andersen & Associates, a Rocklin-based executive search and consulting firm, to lead the effort. The firm does other work for the city and is under contract for $30,000 a year.

Heather Renschler, the company’s CEO, said the process begins with community input. A survey asking residents to choose which characteristics and career experience they would like to see in the next city manager should go live Tuesday on the city’s website. Each council member will be responsible for encouraging their districts to participate until the survey closes April 15.

Councilman Eric Guerra said this step is the most critical.

“Many times in these selections, they don’t take the public’s input until the very end,” he said. “That input has to be from the beginning.”

Councilman Steve Hansen said Thursday the city should delay its search until voters choose the next mayor, which could happen as soon as the June election. Hansen has endorsed former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg in that race.

“I think respecting the fact we have an election coming up is really important,” he said. “I think that many candidates would still be reluctant to apply not knowing (who the next mayor will be).”

Guerra’s main concern with the survey was that the city make it available in several different languages, a change that will occur before the survey goes live.

After that, the council will approve a candidate profile – desired career experience and personal attributes – in late April and the city will accept résumés from early May to late June. The council will approve a candidate pool in mid-July and conduct interviews throughout the summer. This part of the process has to be kept confidential to avoid endangering the candidates’ current jobs, Renschler said.

She said she would like to see a contract approved by mid-September so the next city manager can start in late October or early November.

Shirey’s base salary is $268,423 per year.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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