Despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Missouri City’s staff and City Council will continue their search for a new city manager.
At its April 6 meeting, City Council voted against deferring the search for a new city manager. Additionally, council directed the city’s human resources staff to post the open position on available job boards and social media platforms.
Council Member Floyd Emery suggested delaying the search until the earlier of a year or until after state and local orders encouraging residents to stay at home are lifted.
“Until we get to a point where we get to some normalcy, I think a search is not going to provide the quality candidates that we'd be looking for,” Emery said.
However, Council Member Cheryl Sterling said because the city has needs to address, they should move forward with the search.
“I would like to see the city continue,” Sterling said. “And I certainly wouldn't want to delay any more time in trying to address this. I think we need to continue to move forward to see if there are some applicants.”
Emery’s motion to postpone the search failed on a 4-2 vote, with Emery and Council Member Anthony Maroulis voting in favor, and Mayor Yolanda Ford and Council Members Sterling, Vashaundra Edwards and Chris Preston voting against it.
Council Member Jeffrey Boney, who announced on Facebook on March 28 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, was not on the teleconference call.
The next item on the agenda aimed to direct Missouri City’s human resources staff to advertise the job opening on boards, search engines and social media.
There was also some discussion about not using an executive search firm at all. Ford said at this time she is not too keen about bringing on a search firm.
However, because council previously voted to hire an executive search firm to assist in finding and vetting city manager candidates, city procedural rules dictate council cannot reconsider this measure for 90 days unless a five-person majority agrees to suspend that rule.
Ultimately, the council unanimously decided to have city staff post the position online and will formally begin receiving applications. Then, once an executive search firm is brought on, council will pass along applications for candidates they believe to be qualified.
“There's still parts of this hiring process that these external firms will have to handle, they will have to go and do the professional vetting,” Ford said.
Missouri City is in need of a new permanent city manager, after council, in a split vote, fired Anthony Snipes from the role in February.
According to the approved motion, prior to the next two City Council meetings, Missouri City’s human resources department will send council members qualified applications for them to screen. To protect the candidates’ confidentiality, council will discuss applicants in closed executive session.
Additionally, by the next meeting, Ford said individual council members will have ranked their preferences for executive search firms, and council may move forward with the process to contract with a firm.
“We’re ready to rock and roll,” Ford said.