City delays search for new GRU general manager
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.
Pleased so far with the job performance of Gainesville Regional Utilities Interim General Manager Kathy Viehe, the City Commission unanimously voted Thursday to delay a search for a permanent general manager.
Staff had brought a proposed agreement with the firm of Mycoff, Fry, and Prouse, which specializes in utility industry executive searches, to the commission for a vote. The projected costs were $55,000-$70,000 for the firm, which is under a contractual agreement with the city, and $15,000 to cover travel expenses for general manager candidates who come to Gainesville for interviews.
Commissioners unanimously decided not to move ahead and instead to have a workshop on the search after the commissioners elected this year take office in May.
Commissioner Todd Chase said he didn’t want a search or candidate interviews going on in the midst of the budget process or the potential audit of GRU management decisions on the biomass contract and other issues.
Resident Rob Brinkman said if Republican state Rep. Keith Perry’s potential bill on GRU governance passes this legislative session, the city could have been conducting a general manager search in the midst of a vote on whether the City Commission should cede decision-making control to a new utility authority board. Brinkman said that could harm the city’s chances of attracting qualified candidates.
Also Thursday, the commission unanimously voted to seek proposals from firms that conduct utility industry executive searches instead of limiting their options to Mycoff, Fry, and Prouse. The city’s agreement with the firm ends Sept. 30. The city does have the ability to opt out before that, Interim Human Resources Manager Cheryl McBride said.