Sunnyside City Council Discusses Interim Legal and Personnel Services
June 9, 2009 4 Comments
The Sunnyside City Council held a Special Meeting Tuesday night. The meeting came 24 hours after the last meeting of the Council. The agenda for last night’s meeting was to consider options for interim legal and personnel services.
The City Council heard from Scott Beyer, a representative of the Yakima based law firm of Menke Jackson. The firm represents management, providing special counsel to cities, counties, irrigation districts, school boards, and full city counsel to some small towns. They also provide labor counsel, assist in negotiations and arbitration, and can provide help in land use and employee relations issues. They have five partners, one associate, and are pending the addition of another associate at their firm.
Council Member Theresa Hancock made a motion to approve a resolution to contract for interim legal services with the firm. Carol Stone seconded the motion. Council Members Hancock, Stone, Gehlen, Hernandez, and Mayor Garcia all voted in favor of the resolution. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Restucci was absent due to a family emergency.
Although that was the only item Council took action on at the meeting, a good deal of time was taken hearing a presentation from Mr. Greg Prothman, regarding personnel services his firm provides. The City of Sunnyside has an immediate need for a Finance Director following the resignation of Jordan Arreola last week.
Prothman specializes in assisting cities in transitions and recruiting. Before starting his own company, he was both an Assistant City Manager, and City Manager in Des Moines. He has seven years experience in law enforcement as well. His company was formed in 2001, provides municipal consulting services, and can conduct searches for any senior executive position in the City.
To fill the Finance Department needs, he would look to a pool of retired personnel to help Sunnyside on an interim basis. Arreola’s salary would be divided into an hourly rate which the interim employee would be paid. Prothman’s firm would be paid a fee of 40% of the salary for the interim employee. The City would not provide benefits to the interim employee, with the employee being on Prothman’s payroll, and Prothman sending the City a bill for services.
If no interim employee can be hired within the local driving area, the City may also need to pay an additional housing stipend of about $1,000 per month.
The City Council had a consensus to allow the Interim City Manager, Jim Bridges, to proceed to meet with Mr. Prothman, and proceed with further discussions.
Mr. Prothman also described how his firm could potentially conduct a search for the position of City Manager. His firm would advertise the position, screen applicants, narrow the field down for interviews that Prothman would conduct himself, with a final pool of candidates being considered by the City Council. Prothman would conduct criminal background checks, verify academic credentials, and check references of peers, subordinates, and superiors for the last three jobs of the finalists.
Prothman said his City Manager placements generally stay five to seven years after being placed. If they fail to stay with the City, his firm would conduct another search for the cost of search expenses only, waiving the professional search fee. For City Managers, Prothman asks for a search fee equivalent to 20% of the first year’s salary. Search expenses for his firm generally run $4,000 to $5,000.
Prothman also mentioned that economies of scale can reduce search expenses when a search for more than one position is done at the same time.
For more information about the Prothman personnel firm, visit their website: http://www.prothman.com/