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City Manager Search Narrowing

Morro Bay City Council was scheduled to discuss applications for the open city manager job in closed session Sept. 12, and according to the interim manager, they are getting close to filling the position.
But city manager isn’t the only key position open right now in the city, as there remains an opening for a finance director, an accounting clerk, code enforcement officer, harbor patrol reserve, as well as soccer refs and softball umps.
Interim City Manager Martin Lomeli said they’d gotten 46 applications for the city manager job, which came open in May when former City Manager David Buckingham resigned suddenly. Lomeli took over for former finance director Craig Schmollinger, who spent about a month as acting city manager. Schmollinger himself resigned in August to return home to San Diego for a family illness situation.
Lomeli said the consulting firm hired for the task of finding a city manager was expected to narrow the applicants down to six or maybe eight with a recommendation as to who they think is the best one.
They don’t want too many finalists going into the live interview stage. “Six would be a nice manageable number,” he said. They hope to have someone in place within a month or two.
More problematic might be finding a new budget chief. That job is being advertised on the City website (see: www.morro-bay.ca.us/832/Employment-Opportunities).
“We may have a harder time filling the finance director position than city manager,” said Lomeli. “Finance directors are in demand right now, but I’m optimistic.”
His plan is to take applications and let the new guy make the hire. “My preference would be to let the new city manager hire them, but if an exceptional candidate applies, I might go ahead and hire them myself.”
He’ll whittle down the applicants for finance director to a few and hand that off to the new city manager.
In the job description, the City says it’s looking for “candidates who are talented, innovative leaders and proven managers. A skilled problem solver who makes common sense decisions is sought. The chosen individual will be creative and energetic. He/she should be capable of leading and managing effectively in a fast-paced environment with a diverse workload.”
They’re apparently looking for someone who can get along with others. “The ideal candidate will demonstrate exceptional, collaborative leadership skills; have a decisive management ability; be effective in supporting management goals and decisions in employer-employee relations; maintain and apply a working knowledge of current law and legal criteria specific to the City, the department and its operation in the local, county, regional, state and federal arenas; be responsive to concerns of the citizens; demonstrate effective listening, written, and oral communication skills in order to maintain good relations with the community as well as the organization; be computer and technologically astute.”
Politics are apparently important for the job. “The new Director should respect and be able to balance conflicting perspectives. The ability to build political and operational consensus among City staff and departments, as well as with other agencies will be valued. The new Director needs the ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relations with other City departments, employees, other public agencies, boards and commissions, and the general public. He/She should be responsive and approachable and value communication.”
As to qualifications, education-wise, “Equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with major work in accounting, business administration, or closely related field; possession of an M.B.A., C.P.A., or M.P.A. desirable.”
The City wants 5-years of “professional-level financial management experience in government or private industry requiring knowledge of accounting, purchasing, budgeting, and related central services, such as mail services and surplus property operations; two years of supervisory experience.” And you’ve got to have a valid California driver’s license.
The job pays between and $119,940 and $145,788 a year, “with potential for relocation assistance.” The retirement for the job is either 2% at 60 or 2% at 62 depending on the person’s past work history.
The City is also looking to fill an account clerk I/II position after the sudden death of one of its employees. Kathy Patrick, who’d been with the City for more than a year, died in August. She worked in water billing when she died and was a part time clerk in City Hall before that.
That full time job pays $37,720-$51,498 a year with the usual slate of benefits and retirement of 2% at 62. “The successful candidate, under general supervision, will perform entry-level account, financial, and statistical record keeping procedures; cashier duties; and related work as required. In addition, this position will be at the front counter acting as a water billing clerk which necessitates exemplary customer service skills as well as the ability to multi-task.”
Whoever gets the job will have to join the SEIU union. Closing date for applications for the utility clerk job is 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12.
The part-time job as code enforcement officer pays $24.04 to $28.85 per hour, for 20-30 hours a week.
“This position, under general supervision of the Community Development Director, performs a full variety of field and office work, necessary to enforce the Municipal, State, and Federal codes, as they relate to regulation of public health and safety, land use, parking and neighborhood maintenance.
“The position coordinates initial and follow-up investigations. The position conducts community outreach to build citizen awareness and cooperation in the pursuit of compliance with adopted codes. This is an enduring position that will work an average of more than 1,000 hours per year.” This job deadline passed on Sept. 8. The community development director will make this hire.
The City is also in the process of hiring two people for its engineering division, after the retirement of Rick Sauerwein.
The City had also been seeking a new harbor patrol reserve officer and closed the applications for that position Sept. 13 with tryouts set for Sunday, Sept. 17.
This might be the hardest job to get considering that it involves oral interviews, a written test, a 500-yard swim (in 10 minutes or less) and a boat piloting test. They will let applicants use goggles for the swim test but no fins are allowed, and “wetsuit is recommended.”
Like fire and police reserve positions, the harbor patrol reserve officer job doesn’t pay a lot — from $12-$16 an hour depending on qualifications.

– Neil Farrell

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