By Roz Rogoff
Would-be City Managers flock to San RamonUploaded: Feb 20, 2011
The City Council will begin the interview process for Herb Moniz's replacement as City Manager at 8:30 am Monday morning. I'm not a morning person, or at least not when I wake up. I often don't go to sleep until after 2 am, but I thought I might head over to City Hall at 8 am this Monday to get a glimpse of the candidates coming or going.
I phoned Pat Edwards, the City Clerk, to find out more about it, but she said she didn't know any of the details. I was told the interviews are closed, and it isn't likely I'd see anyone going into the building. I probably wouldn't recognize anyone even if I saw them. The names of applicants can't be released, because that could put their current jobs in jeopardy. So I decided to sleep in on Monday morning as usual.
Edwards suggested I contact Moniz for more information, so I phoned his office. His secretary thought Mayor Wilson would be a better source, so she had him call me. In the meantime I did a search on the League of California Cities website and in their monthly magazine, Western City, for an ad describing the position, but I could not find one. I tried searching the websites of Executive Search firms the city has used in the past, and still nothing came up for San Ramon.
When Wilson called, I asked him how the search was conducted since I couldn't find any advertisements or head hunters for it. Wilson said they saved money by doing it all in house. The only announcement is the one-page job description linked to in Glenn Wohltmann's story on the search for Moniz's replacement.
Despite the low level of promotional expense, the city received over 30 applications from "unbelievably qualified candidates," according to Wilson. Applications came in from all over the country. Wilson attributed this to San Ramon's excellent reputation as a great city to work for. "These people want to spend their time running a city and not laying people off to stay afloat," Wilson opined.
Wilson didn't say how many candidates the Council will be interviewing on Monday, but he said it is "a lot." This is the first series of interviews. He said they will consider personality and fit as well as experience. "It's our job to choose the best person, and we will," Wilson told me.
Moniz will be leaving in about one month. I asked Wilson if there would be an Interim City Manager if the new person cannot start right away. Wilson said that the city runs smoothly when Herb goes on vacation, so they would not need to appoint an Interim City Manager. Administrative Services Director Greg Rogers, or Planning/Community Services Department Director, Phil Wong, fills in for Moniz when he's away.
I asked Wilson if there might be political fallout if one of the more controversial Department Directors was promoted from within. Wilson didn't see that as an issue.
"I'm here 24/7 and I will do everything I know to keep moving the city forward and not backwards," Wilson said emphatically.