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Commission votes to hire recruiter for city manager

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany City Commission voted Tuesday 6-1 to hire Florida-based Colin Baenziger & Associates to recruit the candidates from which they will choose the next city manager.

During their work session last week, commissioners heard presentations from both Baenziger and Robert Mercer, the head of the Mercer Group -- who each told the group they would do a nation wide search for candidates for around $20,000.

Ultimately, however, it was the guarantees offered by both firms that was the deciding factor for most on the commission.

Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard -- who, along with Commissioners Dorothy Hubbard and Bob Langstaff, comprise a sub-committee focused on the city manager selection -- said Baenziger had the better guarantee should their selection fall through.

Should that happen within the first year, Baenziger will re-do the search from scratch for free. If it happens within the first two years, he'll do it for expenses only.

The lone holdout on the commission, Ward 6 Commissioner Tommie Postell, said he was concerned about the stipulation in the agreement that city would pickup the expense of bringing the final candidates to Albany for the ultimate interview, saying he needed more time to review the two proposals.

Postell was absent from the work session where both Baenziger and Mercer made their presentations.

Baenziger will now meet with the commission to get an idea of exactly what type of individual they would like and set the barometer for the qualifications, skill set, and education level they intend to require.

Baenziger promised in his presentation that he could have the search completed in anywhere from 90 days to six months depending upon the commission's timetable.

City Manager Alfred Lott has already resigned his position as city manager, but has asked that it not become effective until July 1.

Under the city charter, the city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city government and oversees all of the city's department heads. The city manager is answerable only to the elected members of the Albany City Commission and is one of seven appointees to the commission.