A Tale of Two Very Different Town Administrator Searches

73911e82993334b5710d_south_orange_search_pic.jpg
73911e82993334b5710d_south_orange_search_pic.jpg

Both Maplewood and South Orange are looking for new town administrators at the same time, a rare occurrence.

And their approaches couldn’t be any more different.

Maplewood, whose long-time administrator Joseph Manning is retiring May 31, launched its search last month the old-fashioned way: hiring a recruiting firm and letting them do the heavy lifting (or more appropriately the head hunting) and eventually offer up recommendations for the TC to consider.

Sign Up for E-News

The Maplewood Township Committee on Jan. 6, 2018, passed a resolution to appoint The Canning Group of Morristown to conduct the search at a cost of $15,000. The choice followed an open process of bidding by six firms, which ended with three interviews and the final choice of Canning.

“We thought it was best to use a professional search firm to handle the process,” Mayor Vic DeLuca said in an email.

He noted that, “The Township Committee will do interviews the end of March. There will be additional interviews with Department Directors and the community in early April. The Township Committee will make a decision in April. The new Administrator will begin in late May/early June.”

In South Orange, however, village officials – namely Village President Sheena Collum – have nixed the outside firm in favor of finding a new administrator themselves.

And the outreach for prospective applicants is a cross between a U.S. Army recruiting campaign and an ad for Six Flags amusement park. 

Collum and friends have set up a special website just for the hunt, www.southorangesearch.com, which opens with an Uncle Sam-like photo of Collum declaring, “South Orange Wants You To Be Our Next Village Administrator.”

It quickly warns applicants not to apply unless they are passionate about public service, experienced, qualified and a team player.

Collum, who tells would-be administrators that they must “keep up with a millenial mayor,” said she wrote most of the recruitment copy that also demands someone who “think(s) finance is fun” and likes to “get ‘er done.”

Laterthe website describes the community as having “city sense, village vibe,” a “progressive army of civic leaders,” and “a rollercoaster that the right candidate will want to ride.”

The best one may be labeling the village as an “awkwardly awesome form of government” where “nobody really ‘stays in their lane.’”

Sounds dangerous.

“My colleagues and I decided from the get-go, we wanted this search to be very different from the typical classified advertisements that circulate …, “ Collum said via email. “We wanted to go digital (lets save those trees), be ourselves and have fun with it while also managing expectations and providing a lot of information to candidates not typically found this early in the process.”

She points out that, unlike Maplewood, South Orange has very little time to find someone since outgoing Village Administrator Barry Lewis gave a surprise resignation to take a job in Livingston, advising the Village leadership last month.

“Enlisting an executive search firm would require putting out a Request for Proposals for a minimum of 30 days, interviewing candidates to lead the search, negotiating and awarding a contract, and ultimately compiling relevant information on how the municipality wished to position themselves to seek out the best candidate,” Collum added.

And lest anyone think that Lewis left in a huff, the recruiting website tells potential candidates, “We love him and he loves us (you can certainly reach out to him and ask him to spill the beans).” 

But isn’t a search firm more experienced and qualified than the town itself to find the best person?

“I’m skeptical of executive search firms in general for two reasons: 1) non-compete clauses last for a year (more in some cases),” Collum explained in an email, later adding, “2) Flat rate services for this type of work also concern me. When a fixed fee is associated, there’s always more incentive to apply a greater portion of budget to ‘consulting’ rather than to marketing and advertising. I want the bulk of what we spend going toward broad outreach.”

She later added, “I enlisted the help of many professionals in our community including my colleague on the board Trustee Walter Clarke, who has extensive experience in graphic design and advertising; John Lopos who is the Chair of our Public Information and Marketing Committee and is an executive communications and marketing professional; Rachel Zorel of 7LayerStudio for her incredible graphic design work and beautiful website; Tracey Randinelli who is a senior editorial manager to review copy; David Kraiker, a U.S. Census Bureau Data Specialist who provided the most timely ACS information; and even our current Village Administrator Barry Lewis reviewed all content and joked, ‘hey, now I want to apply…’”

And, of course, Collum contends, “we know the type of individuals we’re seeking. No one knows our community’s needs and values more than the community itself. Personally, I want our governing body to see everything that comes in, be a part of the ‘vetting process,’ and not be quick to dismiss any potential candidate who may not fit the mold of a typical municipal manager.”

Stay tuned!

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

Maplewood Police Blotter - Stolen Vehicle in Maplewood Recovered by South Orange Police

July 18, 2018

July 11 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime during the early morning hours, a vehicle was stolen from a residence on the 400 block of Richmond Ave. The vehicle was recovered by the South Orange Police Department the same morning.

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_d36e8541b1fb2e142ef9_bobbyvalli_par440_3_dates__11x17

Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_839567c057b5b1db93e9_bill-boat_504x353_web

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Green Travel

Fri, July 27, 6:30 PM

Calloway's Restaurant & Bar, Staffordville

Family Promise SOC Fundraiser at Calloway's

Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, July 27, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018

** TUESDAY RALLY IS CANCELLED **

We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

Those Boarded-Up Homes in the West Ward? Newark Has a Plan for Them.

July 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - The city is using the power of eminent domain to reduce the number of condemned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout the West Ward.

The redevelopment plan for the West Ward was introduced in 2016 and encompasses properties from the border of Irvington to South 13th Street between South Orange Avenue and 16th Avenue. One of the main goals of the plan is to support new ...

Lawmakers Denounce SCOTUS Nomination at Essex County Courthouse

NEWARK, NJ - State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin said it was important to support local women’s health organizations at a state level should President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee be approved.

The assemblywoman joined state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, congressional leaders and women's rights groups yesterday at the steps of the Essex County Courthouse ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Woolley Home Solutions Building Has Unique Historical Stained Glass Window

July 21, 2018

Have you ever spotted this Stained Glass Window on our building? It's compliments of the first Methodist Church in town. The repairman saw our 1924 Autocar Truck parked outside and created this beautiful piece and installed it in our front window. The church was knocked down years ago and its location is now Walgreen's parking lot.

The church was originally built in 1836 when Maplewood ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...