INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — It took a few months, but Joe Wolfe finally got his wish.
The Incline Village General Improvement District will spend no more than $26,000 on a contract with Peckham and McKenney, a Sacramento-based executive search and consulting firm tasked with recommending candidates to become IVGID’s next general manager.
Trustees voted 3-2 last Wednesday for the contract, with Jim Hammerel and Jim Smith dissenting. The firm — which carries a motto of “All About People, All About Fit” — will begin work in mid-May, effectively shunning the board’s previous timeline of having a new leader hired as early as next month.
According to a letter from firm partner Phil McKenney — who served as the first executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association in 1996 — he and partner Bobbi C. Peckham have successfully placed hundreds of employees in administrative positions throughout the Western United States.
“… Of all our placements, (more than 90 percent) are still with their employers today,” McKenney said. “This allows us to offer a two-year placement guarantee, one of the strongest in the industry.”
According to previous reports, the firm has placed positions at various local agencies, including NLTRA, North Tahoe Public Utility District and the town of Truckee. Currently, the firm is conducting searches for the positions of Administrative Services Director and Public Works Director for the city of South Lake Tahoe.
Not long after IVGID GM Bill Horn announced in 2012 he would retire on Dec. 31, 2013, Wolfe, who’s in his third year as trustee, has pushed the board to hire an executive search firm to find his replacement, pointing to the current board’s immaturity (no trustee has served longer than 27 months) and potential conflicts of interest with local candidates, something he reiterated at last Wednesday evening’s board meeting.
“I don’t trust myself without outside help, and … with all due respect to the other board members … I don’t trust you either,” he said. “… If you look at the applications, you recognize people … if we hire a firm, you would take away the ambiguity away from this.”
In late January, the IVGID Board of Trustees voted 4-1 (with Wolfe against) to adopt a timeline to hire a new general manager that included forgoing a search firm in favor of posting an official job announcement, with an application deadline of March 15 and potential hiring in May.
Seventy-two applications met the deadline and were forwarded last week to the trustees, who reviewed and ranked them. In all, IVGID Human Resources Director Dee Carey said 11 were placed in the “A” category of top candidates, with 26 being considered “B” fall-back candidates.
At Wednesday’s meeting, board chair Bruce Simonian said he was “impressed” with some of the initial candidates, but was “leaning toward” OK’ing a search firm contract.
Hammerel said he “wasn’t overly impressed” with the candidates.
“It seems like we’re in a really big hurry to make this happen … I’m in favor of spending the time to do this process right,” he said, later adding he’d be in favor of revisiting the issue and perhaps reviewing more search firm options at next week’s board meeting.
Smith said he was “very impressed” with candidates and put 11 or 12 in the “A” pile.
“I don’t feel we need to go out and hire a search firm,” he said.
As part of the transition process, Carey will forward the “A” and “B” candidates to Peckham and McKenney for consideration.
The firm anticipates the process taking about 14 weeks to bring top candidates to the board.
According to the contract, IVGID will pay $18,500 for the firm’s services, with up to $7,500 possible in travel and other expenses.
The next IVGID board meeting is Wednesday, March 10, at 3 p.m. at 893 Southwood Blvd. While a full agenda wasn’t available as of press time Wednesday, the meeting will start with a public hearing on proposed utility rate increases for district customers.