Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New city manager search agency to be subject of closed session – UPDATE

Burcham retirement annoucement

Burcham retirement announcement

Councilman Rupert Cutler announced that a executive search agency has been selected and will be disclosed at the September 21 Council meeting. In the meantime on September 16 Council will meet to formulate a consensus on what they will look for in a new city manager. Time of the meeting is yet to be determined and will be open to the public.

Cutler said after adjournment that he, “was excited about their selection” feeling really good about the gentleman that will conduct the search. He also stated that after the award is announced the public will have a chance for input.


According Cutler the bids for a executive search agency were to opened July 23. In closed session Tuesday council will finally pick one. At least citizens should hope that council gets moving on the search for a new city manager.

Cutler said Council  will serve as a “committee of the whole when it comes to making all important decisions in this regard.”

For the “smooth transition” council promised when announcing Darlene Burcham’s retirement there needs to be a Burcham successor waiting in the wings March 1, 2010 the date of her departure.

Carol Jacob, Manager for the City of Stanton, California explained that the new city manager needs time to establish themselves without the judgments and perceptions of the prior city manager – particularly if the exit of the city manager was not voluntary. “If someone is smart enough to be a City Manager, they are smart enough to figure out the politics of the City fairly quickly,” said Jacob.

Roanoke City Council has promised public input  in the selection of a new city manager. Jacob believes city council as the elected voice of the people should understand what it takes to be a good city manager. “The citizens should be able to trust that the city council will choose a new city manager to meet the city’s needs,” said Jacob 

According to Cutler there will be public input opportunities early and late in our process.

Cost to hire Burcham in 1999

On October 25, 1999 Roanoke City Council entered into an agreement with The Mercer Group, Inc. to recruit City Manager Darlene Burcham. The cost for their service 10 years ago was $17,500. In addition the city provided moving expense reimbursement based upon the lowest of three estimates according to the City Clerk, Stephanie Moon.

This is a perfect example of where the “subject” of a closed session should be clearly identified on the agenda. RELATED ARTICLE: What’s that Closed Meeting Thing All About?

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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Comments (1)

Bill McClure

September 9th, 2009 at 1:51 AM    

Glad to see they are finally doing something after 3 months. The only problem with Ms. Jacob’s thought is we trusted council 10 years ago to understand what the people wanted in a city manager. I don’t think even Darlene’s few supporters could have predicted what is Roanoke now, by her hand. What she was presented as, and what we got were to 180 degree different things. This council needs to fully vet this new manager to make sure the elected officials are the ones making policy, not the city manager.

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