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Council Selects The Novak Consulting Group for City Manager Search

Posted March 7, 2019 in Administration by David Ball

Hilliard City Council has selected The Novak Consulting Group to facilitate the search for its first City Manager, with a goal of having a candidate selected by the end of the year.

“Novak Consulting Group is a highly regarded executive search firm that has helped cities in Central Ohio and across the country identify and hire city managers and other leaders for more than a decade,” said Kelly McGivern, Council President and a member of the Council subcommittee working on the search process.

Novak Consulting Group was founded in 2009, when Julia D. Novak acquired Public Management Partners, a company with nearly a decade of professional management consulting experience.

In addition to assisting with executive searches for government agencies across the country, Novak Consulting Group’s services range from facilitation and strategic planning to training, organizational development, executive coaching, and community engagement.

McGivern said City Council members know that hiring a strong and experienced leader to serve as Hilliard’s first City Manager is a crucial process.

“Having the assistance of a firm such as Novak will ensure the person selected for this position is able to help our community make the transition to a Council/City Manager form of government as smooth as possible,” McGivern said.

McGivern said hiring the best candidate is more important than meeting a strict deadline, so there must be room for some flexibility in the timeline and process. She emphasized that Council Members want to ensure there is sufficient opportunity built into the process for Council, staff, and community input, including planned surveys and focus groups that will help determine the characteristics desired in a City Manager and what that person’s priorities should be.

The search will begin in March with input to develop a profile of the ideal candidate. Novak Consulting will meet with City Council, City staff members, and key stakeholders to identify desired traits and experiences for the position. This process will include interviews, focus groups, and a community survey. Using this information, a job description and a recruitment profile will be developed.

Once those are completed, Novak will advertise the position and begin the process of developing and cultivating a list of candidates. The firm will work with City Council to narrow the applicant group, as well as perform preliminary candidate screening and reference and background checks on finalists.

Council anticipates a final selection of City Manager will be in the fall so the new manager will be in place before the end of the year.

The new City Manager will officially take office Jan. 1, 2020, when voter-approved amendments to the charter become effective. Council Members have indicated that the preferred candidate might be brought on board in a transitional position in 2019 to learn the ropes and work with Mayor Don Schonhardt during the fall.

“Changing our form of municipal government is a significant step for our community, and City Council members know how important it is to hire the right person for this position,” McGivern said. “We remain committed to finding a leader who will hit the ground running, help us through this transition, and build on Hilliard’s previous success.”

McGivern said City Council will continue to communicate with the community as this search continues.