The job posting didn't find it's way to the city's homepage, but Camas, through a consultant, has a newly posted job listing for the person that will replace former City Administrator Pete Capell. This is an important position in this city with a significant salary upwards of $168k annually. If you, or someone you know, could do this job, WATCH Camas encourages you to apply and keep your neighbors here aware of the application process as you go through it. You can make a post on our forum or send us a private news tip (with the option to remain anonymous) if you prefer.
The listed minimum qualifications for the position are:
The City Administrator has at least seven years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government, including five years of administrative or leadership responsibility.
A well-rounded background with prior experience in a similar size organization that includes public safety is ideal. An exceptional ability to develop effective relationships with a history of working closely with a Mayor and City Council is essential. A sound financial background with a strong understanding of budgets and financial management is required.
Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in public administration, business administration, or related field. An advanced degree in public administration or related field is desired but not essential.
This criteria reads as highly prescriptive and perhaps less open to the pure "best person for the job" standard. As their lead suggests above, the listing seems to only want someone from inside government rather than simply a great manager that happens to apply - What if a retired Camas CEO who managed millions or billions of dollars and thousands of people wanted to contribute their skills to this community? Do you think leading the process with a definitive statement like, "The City Administrator has at least seven years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government" gives Camas the greatest chance at the best fit for the position?
When you get to the bottom of the job description, a reader only then discovers that nothing in the first 2/3rds of the text is actually required of the position. Instead it finishes that anything they've asked for here, including the definitive statement that the "administrator has at least seven years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government" is in fact only...
"equivalent to a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in public administration, business administration, or related field"
Again, that is the last thing listed - How many applicants do you think closed the listing upon reading the first two paragraphs about specific government experience not realizing they were actually more than qualified?
Here are the specifics on the position from the city's jobs website and a link to apply if you're interested or would like to share with someone (red text added for emphasis):
The City of Camas has partnered with Waldron to conduct the search for our next City Administrator. Resume and cover letter must be submitted by May 3, 2020 to Waldron.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR $140,580 - $168,396/yearly DOQ
To apply, please go to https://waldronhr.com/searches/city-of-camas.
NOTE: This hiring process is being lead by yet another consultant the city council has voted to pay for with your money, Waldron HR.
WATCH Camas has received an anonymous tip from someone involved in the hiring process that Waldron has performed HR work for Camas in the past and was brought into this current hiring process by ACTING City Administrator Jennifer Gorsuch. Jennifer may naturally herself be a candidate for the position as current acting city admin - Do you feel that a person recruiting the person that would potentially be recommending them for a job has a strong conflict of interest?
The city formally considered three proposals for this contract:
Waldron, Seattle, WA/Portland, OR
Prothman, Issaquah, WA
Bob Murray and Associates, Roseville, CA
Looking back on a video of the council meeting where this was discussed though, it seems the entire council had a bit of a preoccupation with one of their three options. As Gorsuch prompted them, council went around the table and showered praise on Waldron during the January 6th Council Workshop meeting earlier this year.
Greg Anderson starts. Though he has been on council for over 25 years, Greg is not able to successfully speak into the microphone. He doesn't seem very concerned that his compliments for Waldron are not well captured into the recording.
Melissa Smith then mentions that she's been involved with two of the firms, Waldron and Prothman. Says she doesn't have an issue with either.
Shannon Roberts mentions that the city of Vancouver is using Bob Murray and Assoc. "on a couple occasions" and is currently using them. She then mentions they charge a $1500 flat rate plus expenses which may be comparatively low to other options. Nobody seems interested in further discussion of Shannon's point as she finishes, "I don't know, just throwing it out there".
Don Cheney says he, "prefers Waldron based on experience and my knowledge of them when I used to work peer reflection". He then states that this is the most important hire in the city at the moment before he begs the question, as is a comfortable habit for Cheney, "Even though I saw Waldron... Waldron is local aren't they?" - Well Don, you did just say that you'd worked with them. Gorsuch confirms they do have a Portland office (Waldron is actually the only one of the three options with a local office). Cheney continues, "Then that would reduce, to some extent..." and before he can finish, Mayor Barry McDonnell breaks in to finish his thought for him as he says, "expenses" while nodding in approval. If that was such a qualifying point, why didn't Camas only engage local firms? And why is the only firm that satisfies this phantom requirement is the one council has had the most experience with?
Ellen Burton says she looked at the "web presence" of each company, without expanding on what that means, and makes a special point about Waldron being the best in her opinion.
Steve Hogan finishes by saying he agrees with using Waldron from experience.
Barry McDonnell doesn't express an opinion or ask any questions himself, but he does say, "It sounds like Waldron" as Gorsuch comes in to say the same and doesn't ask for a formal vote.
Jennifer Gorsuch also says, "Sounds like Waldron. So, with that, I can let them all know and then uh... talk to Waldron and see about getting a contract which can be executed without having to go on a consent agenda, so we can do that, the mayor can sign". She finishes, "And away we go?"
You can watch the full exchange here:
As it stands, there are unanswered questions for the city about this hiring effort, among them:
What advantages does a consultant bring to this process, especially in a small town like Camas, that modern online job board software can't accomplish with sophisticated sorting algorithms and automatically filtered shortlists of qualified candidates for pennies on the dollar of the consultant investment?
Has this job listing been circulated nationally to get the best applicants?
How long has the listing been posted online, and in how many different posting locations?
Did the city have any candidates in mind before posting the listing?
How actively and enthusiastically has Camas asked Waldron to market this position on our behalf? Do they already have another local "team player" in mind and if so, are they just looking for the two foils to that choice so Don Cheney can say, "Wait, isn't Jennifer Gorsuch a Camas resident already?"