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

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrested and Charged with DWI

May 24, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of May 24

Theft of Bicycle - A South Orange resident reported that sometime between 5:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., Tuesday, May 22, actor(s) unknown stole his black & white Gary Fisher mountain bike, which had been locked and secured to the bicycle rack under the main train station.

Commercial Burglaries - Two adjacent West South Orange ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Motor Vehicle Thefts Reported, One Recovered

May 7 - Burglary; Sometime during the prior two days, entry was forced to a business on Newark Way.  The keys to a GMC van were then taken from inside the business and the van was stolen.

 

May 7 - Motor Vehicle Theft; At approximately 9:30 p.m., a Jeep left unattended and running in the parking lot of 7-11 on Irvington Ave was stolen. The vehicle was later recovered in ...

Maplewood and South Orange Events for Memorial Day Weekend - and What's Closed

May 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - There is a lot going on in the two towns this Memorial Day weekend, as well as some closures on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

SATURDAY, MAY 26

The Maplewood Community Pool opens at noon for the 2018 season. (The South Orange Community Pool is opening June 2, details here.)

Downtown After Sundown presents "Jazz on ...

Maplewood Community Pool Scheduled to Open on Saturday, May 26

MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- The Maplewood Community Pool is scheduled to open this Saturday, May 26, and be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Memorial Day) from noon to 6 p.m., according to an update from the Maplewood Recreation Department.

For those who wish to join the pool, registration can be done in person at the Recreation Department (574 Valley St.) on weekdays from 9 a.m. to ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 24, 6:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Steve Sandberg and Zach Brock to Perform at ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, May 25, 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

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, May 25, 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

Sun, May 27, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Memorial Day Colloquy: What We Honor and How We ...

Other

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Domestic Violence Prevention Advocates SOFIA Honors Local Leaders During Annual Gala

May 24, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - More than 200 supporters gathered at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange on Sunday to celebrate 9 years since the founding of S.O.F.I.A (Start out Fresh Intervention Advocates).

Founder Cynthia Walker and the gala committee of Chaz Moore, Kelly Moore, Lisa Boyd and Ida Walker pulled out all stops incorporating the color of purple throughout the venue for ...

Millburn Parents and Students Come Out to Board of Education Meeting to Push for Teacher Contract Resolution

MILLBURN, NJ -- Millburn school district parents and student representatives urged the Board of Education on Monday to quickly settle ongoing contract negotiations with the Millburn Education Association.

The prolonged deadlock between the board and the teachers’ union has lasted nearly a year has been bad for teacher morale and was beginning to take a toll on students, particularly at ...

A.J. Perri Helping Veterans in Need - Again

May 24, 2018

TINTON FALLS, NJ – A.J. Perri is back helping veterans in need – this time launching a search for veterans and their families through a partnership with ABC-TV.

As part of the A.J. Perri Cares Program, a lucky New Jersey veteran and their family will receive air conditioning/heating relief this summer.

"They fought for our country, and their families sacrificed," said ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

Rocky Marciano, Jr. Unveils Rocky Marciano Wine at Par 440 on May 31

May 24, 2018

A Champion’s Commitment. The Taste of Excellence.

The wine will be unveiled at an invitation only event at PAR 440 Restaurant and Lounge in Short Hills, NJ, attended by Rocky Marciano, Jr.   

PAR 440 is the perfect venue for hosting the unveiling of the wine. The restaurant built by Mario LaVecchia, is decidedly modern with old school charm, and features amazing ...

Township of Maplewood: Notice of Public Meeting to Discuss Proposals for Pedestrian Safety Improvements and Traffic Flow Changes

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road, in the Great Hall, to present and discuss proposals for pedestrian safety improvements and traffic flow changes, including making Maplewood Avenue one-way from Baker Street to Lenox Place and reversing the direction of the NJT lot. Your presence is encouraged to apprise you of ...

Porchlight Post - Shedding Light On These Old Homes

You bought a new house (congratulations!) and its your first night in the new house. You get cozy and settle in for the night. Your husband wakes up early for work and then so do the kids. Its 5:30 a.m., and your hardwood floors creak so loudly it sounds like someone was trying to break-in. How did you not notice this before you moved in?

Or maybe you’ve been in your house for years and ...