Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking for a new Mr. Manager



We’ve got a few items from the town web site that you might be interested in.  They pertain to tonight’s special council meeting, which in addition to an executive session regarding the immediate future of the current Mr. Manager, will include a workshop to discuss the search for our next Mr. M.

The first item is this one:

It contains four proposals for consulting to the town on the search process.  On a quick glance, it looks like the prices range from about $5,000 plus related costs to somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000.

The offerors are:

1)  Strategic Talent Management, of which Art Boulay, a town resident and business center owner, is a principle.

2)  Eaton Peabody Consulting, in the person of Don Gerrish, long time former Mr. Manager here in Brunswick, and another individual.

3)  Maine Municipal Association, which we think of as the wholly owned subsidiary of and lobbyists for virtually every municipal government in Maine.

4)  Municipal Resources, Inc, of New Hampshire.

An interesting mix, you might say.  Taking them in reverse order, we know nothing of MRI. 

Number 3 is often referred to as “More Money Always”, since their primary role in life seems to be protecting the revenue streams of municipalities, and looking for new and creative ways to expand them.  They can also be counted on to spend lavishly to defeat any citizen initiatives like the Taxpayer Bill of Rights we voted on twice in recent history.  They probably own the source book of unemployed or soon to be unemployed Town Managers from other towns in Maine, complete with positive sounding letters of reference that were/are to be part of their separation agreements, just like in our current circumstances.


Number 2 is self-explanatory.  Our former Mr. Manager, who was hired into Eaton Peabody by our former town economic development director, and who brought our current Mr. Manager on board as his assistant, wants to help us find our next cup-holder.

Number 1 is at least familiar to us, since we have known Mr. Boulay for some years.  But we have virtually no knowledge of or experience with his approach to such things, which are profusely documented in his proposal.

Given the substantial variation in proposal content, the discussion of whom to select should be entertaining, if not enlightening.


The second item of interest is this one, which among other things, includes a description of the process used in 2009, and the job description used here in Brunswick.  It also includes job descriptions from several other towns.  We doubt any of you will be able to take it all in.

The Brunswick description does include this “Experience Desired” passage that caught our eye:

Five to seven years senior level management experience as a town or city manager in a progressive, high growth community.

While we see the relevance of the word progressive here, we think town ideology is a bit beyond that these days.  Perhaps they should change it to say ‘extremely progressive.’  But we see no relevance to looking for someone experienced in high growth.  In case you haven’t noticed, for every case of growth you can name, you can probably come up with a case of demise to match it.  And we don’t think growth funded with taxpayers’ dollars is really growth in the first place.

But that’s just us.

Oh, and it includes that list of “Essential Functions” we told you about before; the one that really shrinks down the field of qualified candidates to slightly fewer than the number who can fog a mirror held in front of them.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS of the Town Manager:

Ability to see well enough to do job requirements.

Ability to read, speak, and write in English.

Ability to hear well enough to do job requirements.

Ability to learn at fast rate.

Strong knowledge of English language and how to communicate using it.

Ability to work independently.

Ability to supervise.

Ability to hear well enough to use phone.

Ability to handle mentally and emotionally disruptive or disquieting influences.

Ability to arrange or deal with tasks in order of importance.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to see a contract drawn up with zero severance pay as a clause. If a candidate balks over this, I don't want him anyway. Should have done this last time. Six freaking months pay after five years work is absurd.