Cambridge City Council Begins Hiring Process for Next City Manager | New

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Cambridge City Council’s government operations, rules and complaints committee began the process of hiring a new city manager in a meeting on Tuesday morning.

During the meeting, councilors discussed the first steps in finding a city manager, including soliciting candidates and hiring a search firm.

The city of Cambridge operates under a form of ‘council director’, also known as Plan E, in which executive power is vested in a city director appointed by the city council, who exercises legislative and legislative functions. surveillance.

Council has had a top-down relationship with current City Manager Louis A. DePasquale since his appointment to this position in 2016; his current contract expires in July 2022. In June, he controversially decided to ban remote public comments at in-person public meetings after more than a year of resident participation via Zoom, according to report by Cambridge Day.

Tuesday’s meeting began with testimony from Bernard F. Lynch, a former city manager of Lowell, Mass., Who consults on hiring for positions in city government, answering questions from the committee on research process.

Lynch said the business wouldn’t be as simple as posting a job posting. He said he expects a 20-week process between “information gathering, actual recruitment and the interview process.”

Lynch and the councilors also discussed whether the research process should begin with screening deliberations in a smaller setting or before the full council.

Lynch said he would recommend against the latter because public records laws would require those conversations to be recorded, noting the importance of confidentiality in protecting the integrity of the selection process.

On the other hand, Councilor Patricia “Patty” M. Nolan ’80, who attended the meeting but is not a member of the government operations committee, argued that the entire city council should be involved in the selection process.

“We would miss an opportunity to get the whole board involved in literally the most important job we have,” said Nolan. “Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like the process treats all advisers the same. “

Committee members then debated the qualifications needed both for a research firm – which has yet to be hired – and for the city manager.

Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler affirmed the need for a diverse pool of applicants and to move away from city manager-specific resume qualifications when considering finalists.

“We have not had any nominees who are women or people of color as finalists or as city managers in Cambridge history,” Sobrinho-Wheeler said. “I really want to make sure that with this process we break the mold of how the city management process has traditionally been carried out.”

Committee members also discussed reviewing internal candidates for the city manager position, budgeting for research and setting term limits.

Towards the end of the meeting, the committee unanimously adopted two motions: for DePasquale to allocate funds to a research consultancy firm, and for Sobrinho-Wheeler and Councilor E. Denise Simmons, who chairs the committee. , to review the search process to select the consultant.

Simmons said she believes the government operations committee should ultimately choose a selection committee that assesses the candidates.

She added that the process is a balancing act between the diverse interests of the board and the public.

“I want diversity in the pool, I want richness, I want participation,” Simmons said. “But I don’t want us to send it back in such a way that it contaminates (…) the process so that some of the best candidates, especially if they come from further away, won’t come because they don’t. don’t want to be put there. “

“I would recommend that we look into the idea of ​​having this selection committee doing this job with the proper training,” Simmons continued.


– Editor Simon J. Levien can be contacted at simon.levien@thecrimson.com. Follow him on twitter @simonjlevien.



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