The Wood Village City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 28, on a resolution to allow retiring City Manager Bill Peterson to negotiate with recruitment firm Prothman Company in the search for his replacement.
A review panel recommended Prothman as the firm to hire after evaluating five submitted applications. The team comprises Peterson, Mayor Scott Harden, Councilor John Miner, Finance Director Seth Reeser and Public Works Director John Niiyama.
The group members all ranked Prothman, based in Issaquah, Wash., as their top selection.
"What made Prothman my No. 1 choice is their close ties to the Northwest," Harden said. "They don't only recruit from the Northwest, but they know the needs of the Northwest."
The cost for Prothman's Wood Village recruitment is estimated at $24,100, plus candidate travel expenses. The city's adopted yearly budget includes $40,000 for the manager search.
One advantage the selected firm has, Peterson added, is its recruitment guarantee. If the City Council fires the next manager — or if he or she resigns without cause — within 18 months, the firm will perform another recruitment, at almost no cost.
"They do provide a warranty," Peterson said. "If it doesn't work out, they'll start over and charge no base fee."
Wood Village will still be on the hook for additional candidate travel expenses.
Peterson was hired by Wood Village in 2011 as the city's full-time manager. In 2017, he retired from his position, but continued to work for Wood Village on a half-time basis. Greg Dirks, Wood Village's human resources and records manager, fills in with city management duties when Peterson is absent.
Peterson is also familiar with Prothman because he's used the firm when seeking city management positions. Prothman recruited Peterson in 2011 to serve as Wood Village's city manager.
"I think they did an outstanding job last time," Peterson said with a laugh.
Councilor Miner noted the firm's experience with finding a manager in 2011 will help them locate Peterson's replacement this time around.
"Prothman already knows the community, and that can help us make a good match," Miner said.
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