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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 9:38 A.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Tia Gronlund-Fox, Human Resources Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Nagy, added, after final presentation by the search firms, Michigan Natural Trust Fund Grant Application.
CM-05-12-371 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Mutch; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as amended.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
Mayor Landry explained Council would be interviewing City Manager professional recruitment firms. He said requests were sent out for qualifications and there were five responses. All five were invited to address the Council, and two of them were unable to be present this morning. Those who are present will be given five minutes to address the Council, and then each Council Member would ask two questions of the individual.
1. Interviews of City Manager professional recruitment firms.
a. The PAR Group
Steve Bernard, Sr. Vice President, advised Council that the PAR Group is an executive search firm that is headquartered in Illinois. They have been in the business of public sector executive searches for 40 years, and are the oldest firm in the United States that works exclusively in local government. He said he has been with the PAR Group for five years, and all of their principals are ex-city managers or county administrators. Mr. Bernard noted he was a City Manager for 25 years and lastly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He still lives there and it is the home of the Michigan office. They pride themselves on the thoroughness of their searches, and they think it is extremely important they understand the Cities they are working for and what their needs are. He said, if selected, the first thing he would do is begin an interview process of each Council member and key department heads recommended by Council. Mr. Bernard said quite often they are asked to interview community leaders to get a vision of the direction of the community, union groups, employee association presidents, etc. He said who is interviewed is up to Council, but they belief in being very thorough with the front end of these processes. Mr. Bernard said the first major step in the search is the development of a recruitment profile, which is in the packets Council received. He said they need to be very thorough because it is a marketing piece to attract capable, professional candidates. It also establishes what the qualities and qualifications are for the next City Manager as Council has defined them in the interviews. The entire process of their search is laid out in their proposal. They have done several searches for the City in the past including the Parks and Recreation Director, Public Works Director and one or two other departments heads. He said he is familiar with the City, he resides in Grand Rapids, would be easily accessible, and would be in a position to move very quickly to begin the search process.
Mayor Landry asked if he would be the principal assigned to this Novi task. Mr. Bernard confirmed he would be the principal.
Member Paul asked how he would evaluate leadership styles, to elaborate on how he would classify the different styles, and the tools he would use to assess this situation. Mr. Bernard said they perform the Myers Briggs assessment tool if Council chooses. He thought it was a useful tool requested by some Councilís, and not requested by others. The key to their assessment of qualities and qualifications of leadership style begins with the development of the recruitment profile. Mr. Bernard said Council would establish the qualities and qualifications they thought most important and they would then evaluate each candidate. Each candidate would be asked to respond in writing how their background, quality and qualifications fit that profile.
Member Paul asked how they plan on prioritizing between training, education and experience of the individual. Mr. Bernard said they donít put a percentage on those varying factors. They try to access all of them equally. He said clearly, there is a baseline of professional background and experience. They would not accept or bring candidates forward if they didnít possess the requisite level of background and experience.
Member Margolis said there are a number of steps in a search process, and asked him to elaborate on what he thought was the most important. Mr. Bernard replied the most important step is the development of the recruitment profile. He said how thoroughly they do the profile determines how sensitive they are to knowing what Council and the community are looking for in a city manager. It also allows them to paint a clearer picture to the potential candidates at the front end, and can be a tool Council can use to do a quick assessment of what community leaders think.
Member Margolis asked what the average tenure is of their city managers placements. Mr. Bernard replied that they donít do that statistic, but would say a minimum of 5 to 7 years. He said the number that the International City Management Association uses for average tenure is about 7 years, which he thought was unscientific.
Member Gatt asked Mr. Bernard to tell Council everything he knows about Novi, such as population, form of government, budget, etc. Mr. Bernard said the population is about 47,500, Novi has a Mayor, Council, City Manager form of government, and he didnít have a recollection of what the budget was. However, these things are some of the first things they would do. When they have interviews they would meet with staff and gather all the materials, such as the budget, the City Charter, strategic plans and any background material he can gather to develop the profile.
Member Gatt asked what their firmís biggest success and failure has been. Mr. Bernard stated their biggest success is the fact that they are extremely well known across the country by city managers and Councils as a highly professional firm. He said they walk their talk, and when contacting any of their references, Mayors, City Council Members, city managers where they have worked, they would be told they do exceptionally good work. They do searches in large cities like Cincinnati and small cities like Marshall, Michigan. To be successful in a small city is just as important as a large city. Mr. Bernard stated they never failed to successfully find a city manager or department head who has done an exceptional job in the community. He couldnít think of any failures in that sense.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said the management style and personality of the candidate is very important. He said it appears the Myers Briggs test isnít done until the field of candidates is narrowed down to a select few. Then the testing is done at an additional cost to the City. He asked what they would do before they get to that test to determine the personality and management style of the candidates. Mr. Bernard responded they narrow the field to a group of 8 to10 candidates that best fit the profile developed with Councilís input. Their background and experience will be compared with specific qualities and qualifications outlined in the profile. He said he would conduct telephone interviews with each of the selected candidates. He said he would narrow the field and ask another principal, independent of himself, in the Chicago office to do the same thing. This way they arrive at consensus, and Mr. Bernardís biases donít play out as the only one who determines the semi finalists. Also, he would ask all the principals of their firm whether or not they know the candidates, because having been in the business so long they often know the candidates before hand. He would ask for their assessment of leadership style, of the qualities of the individual candidates and pursue their background in more depth by personal interview calls. He will ask the candidates to prepare a brief written response as to what their management/leadership style is, and how they fit the qualities and qualification that were laid out in the profile. Mr. Bernard said they donít always use the Myers Briggs unless Council requests it. However, he felt the Myers Briggs is a very useful tool in team building within an organization, and he used it as city manager of Grand Rapids, but not in a vacuum in a search process. He said Council would make the decision on whether to use it or not.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked how they handle confidentiality with interviewing staff members. Mr. Bernard responded that he meets with them individually on a confidential basis. He indicates to everyone he meets with that he is really after their candid insights into two questions. What are the issues and priorities facing the community and the organization over the next few years; and therefore what are the qualities and qualifications they believe to be most important in the next city manager. Mr. Bernard assures them that what they tell him will remain in confidence.
Member Mutch asked what can Council do to ensure the search process is successful to meet the needs of the community. Mr. Bernard said first is to be very thoughtful and candid with him in their responses in the initial interview. He often finds that some Council members donít give this a great deal of thought prior to their first meeting. The first thing is to prepare and think through what they believe the qualities and qualifications are.
This should be done throughout this process. The other end of the process, the two steps include 1) once the field has been narrowed to 8 to 10 candidates, they will prepare a book with their cover letter, resume, and responses to written questions as well as an overview profile. This will be presented to Council in advance of the meeting and Mr. Bernard will discuss each candidate with Council in more detail. At that point, Council would narrow the field to 5 or 6 candidates they would like to interview. The thoroughness in evaluating the information in the books is key. 2) interviews Ė once again the book would be prepared for Council, which would be the same as the first but in addition they would lay out for Council an interview process with questions and evaluation forms for Councilís use during the interview process. They would encourage Council to spend time with that in advance, and make sure they are comfortable that the interview process and questions are getting at what Council wants to get at during the interview. Mr. Bernard said that would take two days of Councilís time to conduct the interviews. It is a matter of devoting a great deal of time, energy and attention to what might be one of the most important decisions they make as a Council person.
Member Mutch asked what efforts they would make to identify qualified women and minority candidates in the search process. Mr. Bernard said they work very hard to do that. Ads are placed in the appropriate professional journals that target minorities and female professional candidates. Also, their files and networks are very extensive, and among their principals they know the city management field, and many professionals across the Country. They would reach out personally to women and minority candidates, either to encourage their interest in the position or to encourage them to contact their professional peers, because they are often in a better position to know a potentially good candidate.
Member Nagy asked how many government entities the size of Novi had they worked with in the last 3 years. Mr. Bernard responded dozens.
Member Nagy asked what they have found to be the most critical skills to be a successful city manager. Mr. Bernard replied the city manager has to be an exceptional communicator both verbally and in writing. They need to maintain an honest, open, and highly professional relationship with the Mayor and City Council on an on-going basis. He felt that was probably the single most important quality. There has to be an even handedness in the relationship, making sure all Council members are equally advised and informed of issues and problems on the horizon and there has to be no surprises. He said obviously they have to have the professional credentials, integrity and financial management skills as well.
Mayor Landry said in looking at the material Mr. Bernard submitted it is apparent that he has quite a bit of experience in Michigan, but he doesnít see any Michigan municipalities listed in his references. Mr. Bernard thought the reason was that the person who puts their contracts together didnít include them and he didnít see that until after it had been mailed; otherwise he would have included some. He thought there wasnít any reason for that other than she probably looked for recent communities of comparable size.
Mayor Landry asked what advice he would give Council in selecting a search firm. Mr. Bernard said they typically compete with four or five search firms all across the United
States, and they are the same ones. He noted he knew the firms to be interviewed quite well as they are always in these competitions together. Mr. Bernard said they are excellent firms with good reputations. He thought it would come down to a feeling of rapport with the person you will be working with, because all three of the firms Council will be interviewing do good work. Mr. Bernard said his firm is unique in that all of their principals have been practitioners of city government, and felt that was an important differentiation. Mr. Bernard said they know the business of city management and intimately understand the working relationship between Mayor, Council and city manager because they have lived it, worked with it and respect it. Therefore, he thought they were in a position to reach out to candidates that they know in the field that will fit the unique situation in Novi.
Mayor Landry thanked him for his time and asked if there were any comments he wished to make. Mr. Bernard said he appreciated the opportunity to be considered, he is in Michigan, is accessible to all of them, would like to work with them in this process, and would look forward to their decision.
b. Slavin Management Consultants
Bob Slavin, President, stated his business is based in Atlanta and serves the entire country. He has been doing this work since 1979. He noted that during the last 24 years he had placed managers, assistant managers and department heads in more than 600 positions. Some of those positions were with the same organizations. Mr. Slavin said the work is very professional and thorough and is based on a profile that Council establishes. They offer a high quality product and are well respected by managers around the country. They have significant experience in Michigan and guarantee their work. If for any reason the person Council hires through this process isnít here within the first two years they will redo the work, and only charge out of pocket expenses. They have worked for large, small, urban, suburban, etc. counties and cities around the United States, including cities in Michigan, and cities facing a healthy perspective future and those that arenít.
Mayor Landry asked which member of their firm would be assigned to captain this search. Mr. Slavin said it would be him as he heads the Executive Search Division and owns and runs the company. All of his consulting time is spent in the executive recruiting phase. When they search for department heads he might allocate one of his employees, but he does city managers.
Member Nagy asked how many government entities the size of Novi had they worked with and how many city managers were placed in the last three years. Mr. Slavin replied he didnít have the exact numbers, but the form of government is typical of what he is used to working with. A city of 50,000, 30 sq. miles is not atypical and he has done a lot of them. He said over the last three years a conservative estimate would be 30 or more. He said in Michigan right now they are doing Kalamazoo; they finished Auburn Hills last year and have placed city managers in the past in Ann Arbor, Traverse City, county management in Washtenaw, etc.
Member Nagy asked what they have found to be the most critical skills to be a successful city manager. Mr. Slavin replied leadership, capability of understanding
what Councilís needs and expectations are, and rallying resources, human and physical, to accomplish those goals. The challenge in Michigan is going to be the States financial situation. He said he read Noviís performance report for the first quarter this year, and it appears they have offset some of the losses with an increase in property taxes. The skill to have a good strong fiscal understanding of what makes cities economically sustainable, the ability to understand what the components of sustainability are for Novi, and to work within those to stay fiscally strong. He commended Council for being able to keep Novi in remarkable fiscal condition.
Member Mutch asked what can Council do to ensure the search process is successful. Mr. Slavin replied that he would spend a lot of time with each Council member to find out where the Council is on this. He would find out what Council wanted to accomplish over the next 4 years, what their expectations are for the community, and as individual members of the Council. He said the more cohesive Council could be in terms of the direction they are headed in, and their expectations, the easier it would be for a manager to satisfy their needs. He asked that they agree to disagree so that when a decision is made itís through a majority, and the city manager would commit to that.
Member Mutch asked what efforts their firm would make to identify qualified women and minority candidates. Mr. Slavin said that was a good part of what they do. He said he had been doing this probably longer than anyone in the business, and has a lot of contacts. He said most of those contacts are people who will return his phone calls even though they might not have gotten the job. He said he is a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and they stay close to women and minorities in the business. Mr. Slavin said Council asked what they could do to help, and he thought if Council expresses a strong commitment in doing that then it would be easy for him to do.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked what their specialty was. Mr. Slavin said in the search division they do more work in city management and public safety. He said this is because those are the types of positions that city councilís hire consultants to help them with, because those are the most sensitive positions. Mr. Slavin said their specialty is national with contacts all over the country, and assists with doing due diligence in not only who knows them, but gaining information from trusted sources.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he looked through the list and there didnít seem to be a lot of clients or organizations in Michigan. He asked if it would be difficult to move someone to Michigan given the climate and economic condition. Mr. Slavin said he has found that the economic condition is more of a problem than the climate. He said people prefer jobs with professional challenges. Noviís economic situation isnít negative; the Stateís situation is negative. He noted the key to getting beyond that is contacting the people who they want to become candidates for this job, and talk to them. Mr. Slavin said he was not sure someone from the southeast, from a right to work state, would be appropriate for a job in Michigan, because most of those cities have either no unions or very weak unions. He said his focus would be on talking to Council to find out what their needs are and then find people who meet those needs. Theyíve done work in Michigan over a long period of time. They have worked in Auburn Hills, Kalamazoo, Portage and Traverse City. He said if Noviís situation was economically negative right now, he could see some challenges. Mr. Slavin said another thing Council has going for them is Mr. Helwig, because he has a national reputation for excellence and is well respected. He said Mr. Helwig has talked about Novi in very positive terms for a long time and his reputation is there.
Member Gatt noted Mr. Slavin did his homework on the research of the city. Member Gatt asked what his firmís biggest success and biggest failure was. Mr. Slavin said they did a Police Chief search in the south west for a very large city. The City attorney and the Mayor opined that shortly into their search, after the ads were placed and the recruitment phase was well underway, that resumes had to be made public on the day Mr. Slavin received them, and their attorney agreed with that. So they accepted resumes and then transmitted them to the City the same day. The first thing they did when they got them was to give them to the newspaper where they appeared in the morning. The reason they gave for doing that was that the paper wanted to ensure the quality of the process, but it obviously diminished the quality of the process. He said to counteract that he contacted those who he really wanted to apply for the job and told them that the minute he received the resumes they would go public. Mr. Slavin told those he wanted to apply not to do so until the last minute of the last day, and they would be made public the next day. However, the problem with that was he didnít have the quality resumes until the very last day so the press had a field day with them. He said they did get the ones needed to do the work successfully, but it was a very aggravating situation. Mr. Slavin said the worst thing was a case where they did a department head search for a major Midwestern city. He said they were following a legend, as this man was highly regarded and the manager told him they needed someone who met that same standard. He said this position was seeking outreach work for minority men and women. They did have minorities, but they didnít meet that cutting edge kind of talent he was looking for. Mr. Slavin said one of the minorities applied that he knew, but would not recommend. He told the manager the people who met the criteria he wanted were not minorities. This man agreed they met the expectations, but insisted minorities had to be interviewed, and wanted to interview the man Mr. Slavin would not recommend. Mr. Slavin couldnít recommend him because he had been the head of a department in a major city in the south east where there had been a political change and they had a reputation for corruption. Mr. Slavin told them that he didnít know if the minority person, he wouldnít recommend, was good or bad and he wouldnít know how to check him out. The people he was working with were all under investigation, under indictment and some of them are serving jail time. The client said he wanted to talk to him and he did and then told Mr. Slavin that he was going to hire the person. Mr. Slavin said he was very nervous about it, but he did all the background work. He did a credit check and it was perfect. The client called Mr. Slavin and said he was going to announce the hiring of the man, and by 5 PM that day the client called and said there was a newspaper report that the candidate had a bankruptcy on his credit report. Mr. Slavin said it turned out that he had gone bankrupt 14 years ago. He said the situation had a huge negative impact on the community.
Member Gatt asked where he would advertise for candidates. Mr. Slavin said they would advertise in the Michigan Municipal League, minority publications and websites, National League of Cities, International City Management Association, NACO, NACA, the public sector jobs bulletin, and governmentjobs.com. All these generate quantity and quality applications, but the key to making sure that they have the people in the group that Council wants is the networking that they do. Advertising is productive, but if you are looking for a city manager, those aspects including the local newspaper will also get to them.
Member Margolis asked, in terms of the selection process, what step is most important and why. Mr. Slavin said the very first part of the process is for Council to define their needs. This is critical because it becomes the criteria upon which the rest of it is based. He said he focuses on this as though it were religious dogma. He will want to spend time with Council, get acquainted with staff and city hall in order to get an understanding of whatís needed. He wants to see the communities they work for, see them in City Hall, see how they relate to people, who works for them and if anyone in town knows them. He wants to walk into the DPW and see if anyone has even seen the manager before, knows who he or she is, and how they react. The best predictor of what someone will do is what they have already done. Once theyíve established their credit is ok, they havenít committed a crime, education checks out, lawsuits are explainable, etc, and search newspapers back at least ten years to look for honest, consistent actions they talk to people they have worked for, who have worked for them, peers, etc. and look for consistency. Mr. Slavin said the network helps, and is sometimes more insightful than the people they are currently associated with.
Member Margolis asked how he would react if Council didnít want him to meet with staff. Mr. Slavin said the only time he was told he could not met with staff was because the time frame was too short. He said there was a community in California where a Council was adamant that the staff needed to be redirected or changed. It wasnít because they werenít competent; it was because there was no team. He stated they needed a manager to correct the problem of a renegade staff. He did finally speak to staff, and brought out the best of the staff that remained. He needs to know what resources the manager will have in order to do his job. The value of talking to staff is the value of getting a handle on the resources the manager is going to have in order to do the work. Mr. Slavin said staff can tell him about the environment the city manager was coming into, and that is very valuable.
Member Paul asked how he would evaluate leadership styles, classify them, and what tools were used to asses those. Mr. Slavin replied he would talk with a lot of people to find out what style they were looking for. They have also used management psychological instruments such as DISC and Myers Briggs. The best indication of what they are going to do is what they have done. He doesnít want Council to rely on the results of somebody who has a PHD after their name, and saying what someone would do in a default mode, because people donít always act in a default mode. Mr. Slavin said they were doing a city manager search right after a professional psychologist had done a police chief search in Ypsilanti. He applied an instrument that was very good, he was very good at administering and interpreting the results, but his focus was always police. He gave the same test to manager candidates, but didnít explain early on that he would tell Council that no one is qualified because they canít make a decision. Itís different because they canít apply a test for police chief to city manager since they have to have the strength of collaboration. Mr. Slavin said Council will hear from him what theyíve done, how theyíve done it, a description of their management style, and a summary report from references that describe and verify that. Also, how they get work done through others, what type of relationship they have with their staff, how they relate and communicate with Council members, what kind of relationships they have with the community, and what kind of proactive approach they have to establish those relationships and maintain them. He said it will not be a clinical analysis, but if Council wants that they have people who do it and do it well.
Member Paul asked how they plan on prioritizing the training, education and experience of the individual. Mr. Slavin said experience is whether theyíve done it and how well theyíve done it, and training is usually through the ranks, and in a place comparable to this. Most of them will come with a masters degree in public administration. Mr. Slavin is more focused on what theyíve done and thought Council needed to be also.
Mayor Landry said Mr. Slavin had recently completed the city manager search for Auburn Hills and asked why it wasnít included in the references? Mayor Landry remarked that there were no Michigan municipalities on his list of references. Mr. Slavin said he can get references in Michigan from Kalamazoo, Portage and Auburn Hills.
Mayor Landry asked what advice Mr. Slavin could give Council on selecting a search firm. Mr. Slavin said Council needs to know what they need out of the process. They should approach this in the broadest perspective they can and then hone in as tightly as they are able to as the process unfolds. He advised Council to keep the recruitment phase wide, and then hone in on specific characteristics that might be preferences rather than requirements as we determine who the candidates would be. Mr. Slavin said he knew the firms being interviewed and they are very good. However, what he has is long tenure in the business, and his business is national if not regional with a network of people that he has maintained throughout the years. He said he didnít think Council could go wrong with the three firms they are talking to.
Mr. Slavin said Councilís questions were outstanding, and he had investigated the city on the internet. He said he had talked to Mr. Helwig and in fact tried to steal him a number of times, but he has always said no. He said if he was selected they could begin soon and he didnít think Council would be disappointed, and he appreciated the opportunity to interview.
Council recessed at 10:49 A.M.
Council reconvened at 10:59 A.M.
c. Alliance Resource Group
Alliance Resource Group cancelled their appointment.
d. The Mercer Group
Jan Lazar said the Mercer Group has been in existence for 15 years. However, principal, James Mercer, has been doing search work and has had his own company for 25 years. She and Mr. Dougherty, who are the principals for this proposal, have approximately 60 years of public sector experience between them. She said they could offer very tailored, successful, competent, and experienced recruitment efforts. They are committed to providing Council with the best possible fit they can achieve for a manager, because it is very critical. A managerial mistake is very expensive in dollars, staff morale, and lost opportunities in all kinds of ways that make a communities life difficult. They want to help Council achieve their goals and get a manager that would serve Councilís needs, and who could be successful in Novi for many years to come. Ms. Lazar said they have a proven track record with a strong Michigan base, and are familiar with Michigan and the issues the State has. They are also familiar with the manager candidates that are available and are actively recruited, and do extensive background checks for the best possible fit for the community. Ms. Lazar said they understand the importance of this for the community, and would like to have the opportunity to help Council in this process.
Mayor Landry asked who would be the principal assigned to oversee the Novi project. Ms. Lazar said she would be the principal.
Member Gatt asked her to impress him with everything they know about the City of Novi. Jan Lazar responded that Novi is a growing community, there is a lot of economic development going on, and the budget has been growing. Also, she was aware that Council is facing challenges on trying to control their post retirement health care costs, and are moving to a new defined contribution plan for pensions for employees. Ms. Lazar said current City Manager, Richard Helwig, has a very good reputation in the managerial community. Tom Dougherty knows him better and would be working with her on the manager search, but she would be the principal in charge.
Member Gatt asked what her firms biggest success story and failure was. Ms. Lazar said they could list 150-200 success stories. She said personally she has had success stories in Bay City, Williamston, and Albion. Mr. Dougherty has had success stories in numerous Michigan communities. Ms. Lazar said regarding failures she would have to search the records, because there have been very few in the history of the firm. She said they guarantee that if a manager doesnít stay in a community for at least a year, either at their choice or at Councilís choice, they will do the next search for free for the replacement. She said they offer this because they are that confident they will find a good fit for Novi, and they will make sure that it is someone who is committed to stay.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he saw in her resume that her relationship with the Mercer Group is as a standing subcontractor. She responded yes. He asked as a subcontractor, in the last three years, how many searches she was involved with in Michigan for city managers. She responded only two in Michigan, and stated she had been doing other projects as well.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said she was the President of Benefit Evaluation Retirement Services, Inc. and asked what she did in that role. Ms. Lazar said she did management consulting and pension and health care consulting. She said the Mercer Group is a consortium group and are not actually employees of the firm. They are all independent businesses who are a consortium consulting group. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if this was with municipalities or businesses in general. She said mostly with municipalities. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked which municipalities in Michigan. Ms. Lazur said she has worked with Albion, a Mental Health Authority and two other cities on health care redesign.
Member Margolis asked what step in the process is the most important and why. Ms. Lazur thought the most important step in the process is the formulation of the profile, so that the best manager fit can be obtained.
Member Margolis said Ms. Lazar has said she would be the principal, but would also be working with Mr. Dougherty. She asked what would be the difference in their roles in the search process. Ms. Lazar said she would work with Council on the profile. She and Mr. Dougherty would both screen applicants and would both be involved in recruiting people who donít apply. She said one of their firmís strongest points is to go out and recruit among the database of people to find people who might not otherwise think of applying to Novi.
Member Mutch asked what Council could do to ensure that the search process is successful. Ms. Lazar said the best thing they could do is to sit down first, before meeting on the profile, and develop in their own minds what the most important things are that they are looking for in a city manager. She requested they write them down and bring them to the profile meeting. She asked Council to make sure that consensus can be achieved of what the Council and the Mayor want for the City. This will help her understand what they are looking for in a candidate In order to achieve a consensus, and help her understand exactly what Council is looking for in a qualified candidate.
Member Mutch asked what efforts her firm would make to find qualified women and minority candidates who might not normally apply. Ms. Lazar replied they are very committed to getting women and minority candidates to apply sometimes from the existing manager pool, and sometimes moving up from assistants or department heads that are ready to take on managerial challenges. She said they probably would not do this for Novi because of the size and complexity of the community issues they would want managerial experience. She said they recruit, keep a database, and have offices all over the country, and watch out for people who are ready to move up and be brought into the pool. She said it is hard to get qualified women and minorities particularly in Michigan, because there are very few here from the Michigan pool. There are more in other states but not a lot in Michigan.
Member Paul asked how she would evaluate leadership styles; how do they classify them and the tools they use to assess those styles. Ms. Lazar responded interviewing candidates, speaking to the communities they have worked in, whether they are interactive with leaders, whether they are people oriented or task oriented. She would look at whether they are pro-active or reactive, consensus builders, whether they react promptly to new situations and problem solving. They try to confirm that the leadership style they present will be the same one they use in your community. She said that is done by talking with people in the community and not just the references they offer.
Member Paul asked how they plan on prioritizing between their training, education and experience. Ms. Lazar said that would come in part from Councilís profile. She said experience in the case of Michigan communities, with the challenges facing Michigan, is the most key issue working with employee groups, dealing with natural challenges and managing growth. These are very key issues and are not a good place for inexperienced managers to cut their teeth. She said that would probably be the top issue, but would be subject to the profile.
Member Nagy asked if the home office was based in Colorado. Ms.Lazar said Mr. Doughertyís home office is there and that she is based in Lansing. Member Nagy asked, given the economics of Michigan, if it would be difficult to attract a quality city manager to Novi. Ms. Lazar replied that Michiganís economy is very challenging, but she didnít think managers would have a problem looking at a community that has a strong managerial history, has been well managed and is fiscally solvent. She felt that they would have a lot of qualified candidates. They would add to the candidate pool by recruiting, because a lot of people outside of Michigan wouldnít want the position. However, there are a lot of managers who understand there are a lot of good opportunities in Michigan, and her firm would explain what the strengths in Michigan are and not just the challenges.
Member Nagy asked if she knew much about Noviís fiscal standing. Ms. Lazar said who was going to be here switched in mid stream because she had surgery a couple weeks ago. Mr. Dougherty had gone over it in detail. She knew that Noviís fiscal rating is good, but didnít get a chance to read everything, but certainly would before meeting on a profile. She said because she is recovering from emergency surgery, she had not been able to read all the things she normally would of before this interview.
Member Nagy asked if the city manager she placed in Bloomfield Hills in 2001 was still there. Ms. Lazar said Mr. Dougherty placed that person and as far as she knew he was still there.
Mayor Landry asked where the Mercer Group has offices, and Ms. Lazar responded in Santa Fe, Atlanta, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Michigan.
Mayor Landry asked if those offices were exclusively Mercer Group or are they offices of those members of the consortium? Ms. Lazar said they are offices of the consortium members. Each of them is a sub business under Mercer. Mayor Landry said each of those offices does things other than executive placement. She replied that most of them do.
Mayor Landry asked what advice she would give the Council in selecting a search firm. Ms. Lazar said Council knew their community the best. All the firms interviewed today are qualified search firms, but Council needs to know they will get their full attention and efforts to get the best possible fit for Novi. She thought that the Mercer Group has specific attributes that would make them stand out from the other companies competing.
Ms. Lazar said the bottom line is that Council feels that the company selected would give them the time, attention, commitment and tailor their efforts to get them what they want and need. She said her company would do that.
Ms. Lazar said one thing they are committed to is to not play communities against each other. They donít present finalists in multiple communities at the same time. We are not doing an adjacent community search. We want to make sure that who they present to Council has indicated their interest, desire and willingness to come if Council chooses them. They want to make sure that things are done within Councilís time line, that they are responsive and limit the amount of hyperbole that goes on by not telling Council they know things that they donít know, but we are going to check out. However, they will check and make sure they know as they proceed in each step of the process. Ms. Lazar said they appreciate the opportunity to present.
2. Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant Application
Member Nagy said after their discussion on November 28th regarding this trust fund grant application, she contacted Mr. Roskelly on December 1st and discussed with him how funds needed to be raised. Mr. Roskelly was kind enough to reduce the asking price of his property from $900,000 to $848,500, which would be leaving a balance of the 25% match of $52,662. Member Nagy said on December 2nd she faxed the Administration the letter that Mr. Roskelly had faxed to her, and she also received the originals. On December 2nd she discussed, with Mayor Landry, the possible funding of the $52,662. Member Nagy thought the sale of the property at the north east corner of Grand River and Novi Road, which was sold for $113,000, could be a source of that funding. She thought the City, Administration and other individuals had worked very hard to apply for this grant. Member Nagy said Mr. Auler is going to Lansing on December 5th to do a presentation.
CM-05-12-372 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Mutch; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: That the City Council would take $52,662
from the proceeds from the sale of the parcel of land located
at the north east corner of Novi Road and Grand River and
apply that amount to the 25% local match for the Michigan
Natural Resources Trust Grant Fund Application.
Mayor Landry said, for clarification, it is his understanding is that the City would be pledging that amount of money as the Cityís local match. It is not necessarily spent at this time but would be spent if and when the City got the grant. Member Nagy responded that he was correct.
Member Margolis said her understanding is that the grant requires a road be constructed and a parking lot as part of this process, is that correct. Member Landry replied that if the grant were applied and the property was maintained as open space, the City would have to make sure there was access to the property and a parking lot. So, a road may be a driveway or something.
Member Margolis asked for a cost estimate of the access if the grant is received.
Ms. Tia Gronlund-Fox said a rough estimate of the materials would be between $20,000 and $30,000. Mayor Landry said that would be if the DPW were to construct the access and the parking lot. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said he was correct.
Member Margolis thought that seemed reasonable and she appreciated the offer from Mr. Roskelly to take less. She said if the amount to construct what is needed, as part of the grant, is significantly more than the amount estimated that she would want, at that time, to look at whether or not to accept the grant.
Member Paul stated she understood Member Margolisí point. However, her understanding when talking to people who did some of these grants previously, such as Southfield, is you donít have to do the expenditure immediately after the proposal is accepted. So, if we needed to spread that out over a year or two or more that was acceptable. Also, there are other grants available to do that exact work. If we are able to acquire this one grant, it is not the end of the grants available for this purpose. Member Paul said we have our own labor and we also have other people that are interested in doing some helping in the area of building parks. We had the rain garden, which has been postponed until spring, and a high school group was willing to do that, which would be helpful in regards to labor to do other projects. She said many of the youth and the Youth Council were interested in that. Member Paul said she was very interested, glad this proposal was brought forward, and thanked everyone that was involved.
Member Paul thought that when we have increased density in other areas, to decrease the potential density of another small portion of land is very interesting and beneficial to her and to the entire community. She appreciated everyoneís cooperation.
Member Mutch thanked Council and Member Nagy for being able to effectuate an increased donation from Mr. Roskelly, and the Mayor for his willingness to consider an alternative that doesnít require money to be taken away from something else. These are funds that came from the sale of a property that was essentially open space, and we are using only a portion of that to acquire open space elsewhere around the community. He thought that was a good fit and appreciated the spirit of compromise, support and having the City actively involved with this grant application. This makes our case to the board much stronger. Member Mutch said a detail he found out yesterday was that the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board is expecting to have $5 million above and beyond their normal funding levels for grants this year. So getting the grant application in this year gives us an opportunity at a larger pot of money. He hoped this would be successful and thought with the support of Council a large hurdle has been cleared towards making this a successful application.
Roll call vote on CM-05-12-372 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis,
Mutch, Nagy, Paul
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 11:28 a.m.
David B. Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
__________________________ Date approved: December 19, 2005
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean