Haines’ Public Facilities director Brad Ryan was one of two candidates shortlisted for the position of Interim Borough Manager by the personnel Committee this afternoon. The other is Deborah Schwartz of Little Rock, Arkansas. The assembly will address those recommendations at Tuesday’s meeting.
The personnel committee was tasked with sifting through the seven resumes submitted by the Dec. 4 deadline for the interim manager’s seat. They checked references and, based on applications, agreed that Ryan and Schwartz were the top contenders. Committee members Margaret Friedenauer, Ron Jackson and chair Mike Case reviewed the applications. Friedenauer looked into Schwartz and Ryan. She called Carlos Jimenez, who worked with Ryan on past projects but never directly supervised him.
“He said that’s really where he excels is a lot of project management handling, a lot of tasks at once and juggling different priorities and things like that. He also spoke about his ability to talk with a lot of different people and coordinate a lot of different things with different organizations.”
Jimenez also touted Ryan as mild-mannered and even-keeled.
The applicant from Arkansas, Schwartz, has three decades of experience in the aviation realm, managing commercial airports and consulting a vast array of aviation projects. She is currently the owner of Strategic Aviation Solutions, LLC.
“She mostly deals with very large organizations, but that she does that very well. A lot of the budgets she deals with and a lot of the amount of people and organizations she deals with are big,” Friedenauer relayed. “And she deals a lot with budget issues, which she also mentions on her resume.”
Resident Kathleen Menke addressed the committee a few times asking why they couldn’t recommend Ryan just step into the position now.
“We do have somebody local that wants the job, has applied for the job, so is that option open for the assembly to consider at the next meeting? (Him) stepping in apparently where Julie would prefer to be out?”
Don Turner added that local is great, but it should come down to the person most skilled for the position.
“Hopefully we can find one sooner, but I would expect it would be six months probably before we wind up with a manager. I would hope that not necessarily put emphasis on local, as much as qualifications.”
Jackson pointed out that in borough code it says, if qualifications are equal, preference is given to borough employees, local residents and veterans. Borough Clerk and acting manager Julie Cozzi responded:
“All the committee is doing to determining the qualifications, because we can’t determine if they’re equal until you looking at them. And then you can bring in the issue of veterans or local. Act6: That’s precisely why it’s important to interview, especially in a position like this because you can’t tell from applications. People can put anything down.”
In his cover letter, Ryan addressed his commitment to the community. He’s been here for seven years and worked for various agencies big and small. He said he is interested in not just the interim position, but in becoming the permanent manager.
Schwartz described herself as a “seasoned municipal executive and a creative problem-solver.”
The committee members used score sheets from the last manager hire process and compared resume qualifications to the job description. In the end, Schwartz and Ryan were the top two for the committee members and Cozzi.
The committee passed a motion unanimously to have the assembly take a closer look at those two applications. They also passed a motion recommending that the assembly look into hiring one of three executive search firms to find the next police chief and a permanent manager. Three businesses submitted proposals offering extensive vetting to potential candidates, and a guarantee that the future hire would stay on for at least 18 or 24 months. The costs are exact but range around $30,000 for the search for both a manager and chief. That estimate does not include what the borough would pay to fly in potential hires for interviews.
Case said he and Cozzi researched all three firms.
“And they all got glowing reviews!”
The personnel committee will make its recommendations, including a timeline, to the assembly on Tuesday.