HR Committee Wants Executive Search Firm to Help with City Administrator Hunt
Waukesha Common Council will vote Thursday to move the process forward.
The Human Resources Committee agreed unanimously Thursday evening that it wants to hire an executive search firm to begin searching for the next city administrator.
City Administrator Lori Luther’s last day in Waukesha is Aug. 5 as she is taking the county administrator position for Peoria County, Illinois.
Community Development Director Steve Crandell will be the acting city administrator until a new city administrator is hired.
“He does not want both jobs,” said Alderman Roger Patton, who brought the request forward. “Even though he did a good job three years ago and I know he will do his very best now and everything, we need to not just talk. … Let’s get going.”
While the decision to hire an executive search firm is moving forward to the Common Council meeting and will be placed on the consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting at City Hall, there will still be plenty of details to be worked out before the city hires a firm.
“All we are going to be talking about is how to start the process,” said Alderwoman Joan Francoeur before the meeting started.
The contract, reporting structure, job description and costs of a search firm will all have to be discussed and voted on by the Common Council.
The discussion was halted during last week’s HR Committee at the request of Mayor Jeff Scrima who was not present at that meeting. Scrima is asking the Common Council to give him full oversight over the city administrator, including being the cit administrator’s direct supervisor, a role that the council decided in summer 2010 could no longer be conducted by the mayor.
Scrima said after the meeting he was just listening to the discussion and that he supports hiring a national search firm for the city administrator’s position.
Alderman Rick Hastings said he wanted the city to find the very best person available. While he would love to see the candidate come locally, “I want to understand what we are missing when we are not doing (searching nationally),” he said.
“When we get a group of candidates that come before us, we can see if the local candidates are as qualified as the ones that come from a distance,” Hastings said.
Meanwhile, the group of mayoral supporters – led by Waukesha School Board Member Steve Edlund – gathered downstairs to discuss what appeared to be their frustrations with the Common Council.
“I think we are putting the cart before the horse,” said Edlund, who wanted the council to first address funding for the executive search firm and the city administrator’s reporting structure.
Previously, Francoeur decided to allow residents who came to the meeting to speak, even though she was not required to do so.
Lida Pederson, a Waukesha resident who frequently supports the mayor by reading others’ comments she finds in blogs or in newspaper articles, read from a blog post that she said expresses her and her husband’s views. The blog post called to consolidate the city administrator’s position, to place the city administrator’s position under the authority of the mayor and to hire a local resident as a city administrator.