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Council may look outside NRV, VA for town manager

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Pulaski’s vice mayor says he would rather use a recruitment agency to find a new town manager than advertise locally.

“The problem is if you advertise locally, you’re going to get local candidates,” Vice Mayor Joseph Goodman said during a budget work session held this week. “If you try to get some kind of national advertising going you’ll attract someone who’s new to the New River Valley and even Virginia who can bring in some new ideas.”

Town Manager John Hawley, who will retire next year, told council the advertising budget in the town manager’s budget for 2013-14 may need to be increased due to the need to advertise the position. He said a new category could be added to the budget if a search agency is used.

Mayor Jeff Worrell suggested town staff explore that option. He said such agencies have been used to fill vacant positions in the past.

Hawley said he would contact some of the firms to get additional information on the process.

Hawley added that word has spread pretty fast within the Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA) that Pulaski will be searching for a new town manager. However, if council is interested in looking outside the state, other search methods will be needed, he added.

10 Responses to Council may look outside NRV, VA for town manager

  1. County resident

    March 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Here’s a new idea for you: Do not waste funds on a national search agency for that position. Advertise in local government resources such as ICMA, National Association of Counties, VA Aassociations for local government, etc. The pay scale and the Town position does not warrant spending thousands of dollars to hire an agency, pay travel expenses, pay relocation expenses, or anything else to hire someone nationally. The Town of Christiansburg spent thousands to hire a Town Manager. Only to hire the Assistant Town Manager they already had. It makes no sense in tight budgets to spend money to try to hire someone nationally. Get a grip!

    • Benjamin

      March 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Yep that would work, but for some reason they prefer to waste money.

  2. also concerned

    March 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    One thing that we have now that is available that may not have been in the past is the wonderful internet. This could aid in the search for a new manager and also give the council the ability to actually go to their previous locations and tour it. Find out how the area is growing or if there have been any problems. Ask the question, ” Why are you interested in Pulaski?” Are they planning to make a long term committment to follow through or is their track record suspect. Please do not take someone without going to their locality or canvassing the citizens of their former town to see if they did a good job or if they were difficult to work with. Ask if they were open to ideas from citizens that only want to see improvement or will they simply smile at them and disregard the suggestion altogether. There are far more things that need to be addressed other than what school they graduated from and what position in the graduating class. Find out if they worked well with the Chamber of Commerce or would they be willing to at some point look into hiring a property management team to fill vacant businesses or storefronts. Looking around I see so much potential for these things to come to pass if the right person is chosen.

  3. another county resident

    March 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Agreed !!!! Hire local !

  4. Town Resident

    March 6, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Well stated County Resident. It appears from most of the recent articles about Town Council that they have gotten away from their original platforms that helped to get them elected. What happened to the Rt99 corridor? What happened to cleaning up blight? What happened to getting businesses into our town? I think they need to get back on track in helping our town thrive as it once did and stop with the personal agendas. Let’s get some real work done. Revenue will take care of itself if you get businesses back here. Where is the common sense approach that you all seemed to have when interviewed while running for election?

  5. Also Concerned

    March 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Having watched this town diminish in size and lose its quality of life that we once had, I feel we need someone with no personal attachments to this area previously. No agendas,just the ideas and skills to get this town back on it’s feet. Sometimes we have to hire from outside to eliminate any personal relationships that can interfere with their enforcement of codes, plans for improvement etc. Hiring locally is a wonderful idea in most cases, just not this one. We need fresh ideas not the same old.

  6. Andrew Cocke

    March 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    You know, after reading the responses to this story I’m inclined to believe that there are indeed people right here in Pulaski County that seem intelligent enough to run a town!

    Consider this: Pulaski County is full of businesses, many of these businesses are owned by people local to the area, and they manage to keep their businesses profitable during the worst economy in decades. Business owners do not have the option of raising their revenues by simply pricing their goods at what ever is required. (the way governments simply raise taxes when things get tight) To do so may put them out of business. A good business model is being very efficient, something no government has ever been able to do.

    To the new town manager, the town of Pulaski will be his or her business. It’s up to him or her to make the Town of Pulaski the best place to be in the NRV while not taxing the fire out of those who already live here.

    The problem the council has is they are looking for a town manager who is trained in government finance. These are few and far between. Want a real “manager”? Find someone who is educated in private business (not public government). Those educated in private business know better than spending $100 for a hammer and $10 per nail.

    Finally, it’s not the role of any government to be an employer. If the town of Pulaski government can eliminate spending by not filling positions (like the Finance director) then by all means. This is a perfect opportunity to save money without laying anyone off!

  7. yet another county resident

    March 27, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Good points in the comment section. The Town does not need to spend thousands of dollars to hire a hiring firm to do a national search. Plenty of journals and Internet sites exist for people looking for local government positions. I agree with Mr. Cocke, the region has several successful business men and women who would do a better job managing the Town than some of the bureaucrats I have seen at other local governments. Many of the Town Managers and County Administrators are bobble heads for the councils/boards. Pulaski is suffering. The Council has an opportunity to try to make a good hiring choice. I am hopeful they make the most of it.

  8. Va Girl

    March 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    How about get someone who has not only run a town before…but helped it GROW instead of DIE? Hmmm….just a little thought.

  9. also concerned

    March 28, 2013 at 6:49 am

    One again let me suggest that we need to look at towns that have not only survived, but improved. We need to get together individuals that will not only look into getting new business but retaining them. If a business pulls out for whatever reason, have a backup plan by keeping a list of interested parties to fill the slots left vacant, not just watch them fade away one by one. It takes a village to keep a village,,,all businesses help feed each other. If, for example, you cannot find a pair of shoes in Peebles, if there is another store offering similar items, perhaps you can find them there. If instead of being afraid of taking business from Peebles or Magic Mart, we could add others with like items and they could feed off each other. I know as a consumer, that it would be wonderful to have options here instead of having to leave the area to shop. How do you think the Mall idea has worked? There are MANY stores under one roof offering similar items and the consumers are able to have options. All the businesses grow because of this. And, here is a novel idea, lets clean up our town so that this could be a possiblilty. No one wants to come to an area where there is so much disrepair and trash!!