With nearly a dozen unsolicited resumes already in hand, the biggest problem Dewey’s town manager search subcommittee is going to have is weeding out applicants, not finding them.
The subcommittee met for the first time Dec. 18 – nearly two months after former Town Manager Marc Appelbaum’s last day, Oct. 20. Since then, Mayor TJ Redefer and Commissioner Dale Cooke have been performing town manager duties and, during the Dec. 15 council meeting, commissioners voted in favor of Cooke assuming all those duties during the search.
Karen Kruger, subcommittee chair, said the list of applicants already includes some highly qualified people.
Steve Montgomery, subcommittee member, said there are so many applications because everybody in Delaware knows the town needs a town manager.
“There’s been three months of media attention,” he said. “You would think it would scare them away, but it hasn’t.”
The meeting focused on the content of a job announcement and where it should be advertised.
Requirements listed in the announcement will reflect a change from Appelbaum’s contract, which allowed him to set his own schedule.
Referencing time Appelbaum spent in New Orleans at a second home throughout the year, subcommittee member and former Mayor Dell Tush said the town doesn’t have a southern branch, and the new town manager should be expected to be available.
In the rough draft of the announcement, there was a job description with the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After a brief discussion, the wording was changed to say the position was a Fair Labor Standards Act exempt position because managerial positions don’t fall under that act.
As a business owner, said Montgomery, he wanted a town manager who is available.
“For five months of the year, the hours are a lot more than eight hours a day,” he said.
Tush said she wanted wording in the announcement saying the town manager will take emergency management training and other training as necessary. The other committee members agreed.
With a smile, Montgomery pointed to wording in the letter that business casual dress is required year round.
“We know why that’s in there,” said Kruger, referencing Appelbaum’s sometimes inappropriate attire. The final draft of the announcement letter did not contain this wording.
Redefer, the town council liaison for the committee, said the town should expect to pay the next town manager more than Appelbaum, who was being paid $75,000 a year. He said the annual salary for town managers in towns of Dewey’s size is $80,000 to $125,000.
The subcommittee agreed the announcement should be posted in industry-related websites and publications because they had the best possibility of attracting qualified people.
Recognizing time is of the essence, Montgomery said he liked setting expectations high and scaring away applicants who aren’t serious.