Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Feb. 14 @ 12:07 p.m. / Local Government, Oregon

Brookings Council Selects Washington-Based Recruitment Firm For City Manager Search

An Issaquah, Washington firm will spearhead the search for a new Brookings City Manager.

In addition to unanimously approving a contract with Prothman for $16,500 plus expenses on Monday, the City Council gave their interim city manager, Police Chief Kelby McCrae, a 20 percent raise.

This raise is retroactive to when McCrae took on the role following the termination of former city manager Janell Howard on Jan. 16. The financial impact to the city as a result of this raise will be about $2,004 per month, according to Monday's staff report.

McCrae's raise will be in effect until his job as interim city manager ends, according to Mayor Isaac Hodges.

After reviewing proposals from the Lane Council of Governments, Rogue River firm WBCP, Colorado company Columbia Ltd. and Prothman at a Feb. 5 workshop, councilors went with the Washington based firm.

According to McCrae, Prothman has been a repeat recruiter for agencies in Oregon and Washington and has been instrumental in executive placements in communities similar to Brookings.

Prothman also promises to spearhead another recruitments process for no additional fee if the newcomer to the permanent city manager position doesn’t workout within their first year of employment, McCrae told councilors.

Prothman had submitted the second-lowest proposal, McCrae said.

Their expenses will vary depending on the number of in-person meetings versus virtual meetings with city officials, advertising preferences, interview packets and shipping and the number of candidates they need to conduct background checks on, according to the city’s staff report.

According to the staff report, Prothman’s expenses can range from about $7,020 to $9,190.

The firm’s head recruiter and owner, Sonia Prothman, recommended meeting with the City Council three times, with the third meeting being held in-person, McCrae said.

“The third one should only be done in person and that’s when you discuss the final candidates and the final questions [before] moving into the interview process, which they’ll assist with,” he said. “The second meeting is a discussion over finalists and they said that can be done in person, but is quite often done by Zoom. [They] also recommend the first one be done in person so they can get a good feel of the Council and their direction and what their requests are.”

That first meeting will also give the City Council a chance to talk with Prothman’s representatives, McCrae said.

Councilor Phoebe Pereda said she wanted to meet with the company in person during the first and third meetings, though she’s aware that it will affect the cost the city would have to pay.

McCrae said he was comfortable that the city could keep the total cost for Prothman’s assistance under $25,000 and that expenses wouldn’t be much greater than the bottom range of $7,020 even if the second meeting is held in person.

In the scope of work the company submitted to the city, Prothman indicated that during the screening process, it would conduct interviews with the top four to 12 candidates, give Brookings officials their recommendations and work to identify the top three to six candidates to invite to final interviews.


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