City to pay recruiter $30,250 plus costs

The city of Ashland will pay a recruiting firm $30,250 plus expenses to find top city administrator and assistant city administrator candidates.

City Administrator Martha Bennett — hired in 2006 — has accepted a job as chief operating officer for Portland Metro. She will continue to work in Ashland through October.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to pay The Waters Consulting Group Inc. $21,500 to conduct a national search for a new administrator.

That figure includes expenses such as travel and marketing, Human Resources Director Tina Gray said.

The firm is headquartered in Texas but has a regional office in Seattle.

The City Council also voted to pay the recruiting firm $8,750 plus expenses to hunt for an assistant city administrator.

Expense costs can run to several thousand dollars, based on past recruitment figures.

The assistant's position was created this year after city officials decided not to fill vacant director posts in the electric and information technology departments. The assistant city administrator will supervise those departments and have other responsibilities.

Ashland paid The Waters Consulting Group $22,789 in fees and expenses in 2008 to recruit candidates for the information technology director job. Rob Lloyd was hired, but left Ashland this summer for a position in Arizona after less than a year and a half.

Because Lloyd left before a two-year mark, the recruiting firm agreed to search for an assistant city administrator for a reduced fee of $8,750 plus expenses, Gray said. That search likely will be delayed until a new city administrator can weigh in, she said.

The City Council has yet to decide how to fill Bennett's job on an interim basis, Gray said.

Top city staff positions are filled when the mayor makes an appointment that is confirmed by the City Council. Elected officials often involve community members, city staff and experts in related fields during the interview process.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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