Missouri City has begun its search for the next city manager after firing Anthony Snipes from the position during a Feb. 24 special meeting.

The city put out a request for proposal to recruit an executive search firm to help find and vet candidates for the position on March 2. In the meantime, City Council appointed Bill Atkinson, the current assistant city manager, to be the interim city manager.

Interested search firms have two weeks to submit their proposals to the city. At that point, City Council members will have the opportunity to review the proposals and meet with top firms, said Martin Russell, Missouri City’s human resources director.

In a March 2 presentation to council, Russell estimated the cost of hiring a firm to conduct the search could range from $16,000 to $70,000 depending on how in-depth City Council wants the search to be.

Council Member Cheryl Sterling asked if Missouri City’s in-house HR department has the capacity to conduct the search themselves, saying that that should be the city’s first method of recruiting candidates.

Russell said the city’s HR department doesn’t have access to the same in-depth resources to perform background searches and research on the candidates that the search firms do.

“We are able to advertise for that position, but as far as the in-depth processes that are put in place in order for that key position to be selected ... we don't actually have those in-depth resources,” Russell said at the March 2 council meeting.

Council Member Anthony Maroulis said an additional perk of hiring an outside search firm is the ability to keep the process confidential.

“One thing you don't want to do is make a bad choice because that could cost us a whole lot more money,” Russell said at the meeting.

Russell said after the two week period of the RFP, the timeline to meet with potential firms will move as fast as the council would like.