Marla Flentje, search advisor with The Austin Peters Group of Overland Park, presented city commissioners with a draft profile of the position of city administrator, which has been developed to give prospective candidates a comprehensive job description. Commissioners reviewed the profile with Flentje at a study session following the commission meeting Monday.


Marla Flentje, search advisor with The Austin Peters Group of Overland Park, presented city commissioners with a draft profile of the position of city administrator, which has been developed to give prospective candidates a comprehensive job description. Commissioners reviewed the profile with Flentje at a study session following the commission meeting Monday.

The profile provides both minimum and preferred qualifications for candidates. The minimum qualifications call for three years experience in public-sector management, a bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field from an accredited university, previous and direct responsibility for development and oversight of a public-sector budget, and evidence of stable and progressive career advancement.

Brown suggested that under minimum qualifications, the three-year experience requirement in public sector management should be changed to three years of management in either public or private sectors. Commissioners Bob Moore and Mike Alkire agreed.

Preferred qualifications for the position include five years of experience in local government management as a manager or administrator or assistant manager/administrator, a masters degree in public administration, evidence of expertise and experience in human resource management, membership in the International City and County Management Association (ICMA) and designation as an ICMA credentialed manager or equivalent.

The profile also details qualities desired in a city administrator. The qualities listed include responsiveness to the Commission, employee coaching and mentoring skills, “superior” communication skills, expertise in public policy and management, leadership to develop and sustain relationships, and skills in developing consensus among individuals and groups.

“I was struck, like somebody dropped a ton of bricks, at how exceptional McPherson is in what’s now the buzzword ‘partnerships’ . You’ve all been doing this for 50 years or more and it is truly a way of life here. I think the things you were looking for in here reflects and send a very strong signal that whoever we select has to have those soft skills of persuasion and influence and consensus-building,” Flentje said.

The profile is very vague in regards to compensation, with only two short paragraphs devoted to the subject. The profile states that the previous administrator (Meagher) had been in city administrator for 10 years and his salary was in the mid $90,000 range.

Commissioners did debate one sentence in the compensation description, however.

“Although a car allowance has not been available in the past, the Board of Commissioners may be willing to consider one as part of the compensation package,” the profile states.

Brown said he was struggling with mentioning a possible allowance because he believes the driving in-town would be minimal but that he didn’t want to lose someone just because items, such as a car allowance, are not mentioned at all.

After a brief discussion, Flentje volunteered that she could rewrite the sentence to make it more clear that while a car allowance would be considered during negotiation, it was not a foregone conclusion. The commissioners agreed.

“We haven’t committed to anything, but we’re willing to talk,” Brown said.

The commissioners also discussed a timetable to the recruitment of an administrator that will be included in the profile of the position. Although the profile discussed is in draft form and dates are tentative, a date in mid-August will mark the deadline for receiving resumes and finalists are tentatively scheduled to be announced on Sept. 8. The commission is also tentatively scheduled to announce an appointment on Oct. 6 with the new administrator beginning work early in November.

A final draft of the profile is expected to be released later this week.