Sacramento firm to handle headhunting city manager

Ralph Andersen & Associates, a California firm whose top recruiter claims part-time Nevada residency, Tuesday won the headhunter role to help find Carson City’s next city manager.

The Board of Supervisors voted without dissent to retain the suburban Sacramento firm based in Rocklin, Calif., pending a finalized contract, to work with the Human Resources Department and the board in hiring a new staff chief executive after City Manager Larry Werner retires on Dec. 19. Board members also liked another of the four firms interviewed. But three supported the winner, and that quickly became five.

Supervisors John McKenna, Karen Abowd and Jim Shirk voiced the early support, with McKenna sharing a concern about how the top man at Bob Murray & Associates, a competing firm from California, would fit in with Carson City people and culture. He favored Heather Renschler, president/CEO at the recruiting firm that won the day.

“She’ll get us what we need without getting us in trouble,” he said. Abowd agreed, saying Renschler had demonstrated “a comprehensive handle on the process.” Renschler had emphasized in her presentation the importance of keeping the process open in accordance with state law. Shirk said he liked both firms, but favored the eventual victor.

Mayor Robert Crowell and Supervisor Brad Bonkowski spoke initially on behalf of the Murray proposal, but appeared comfortable after the discussion with backing Renschler’s plan for the search process.

“This project will be based out of Incline Village, Nevada,” her written proposal stressed. “As a part-time Nevada resident, Ms. Renschler often works from this location to better serve clients on the eastern and western slopes of the Sierras. Additionally, she is very familiar with the area.”

She told the board she sometimes shops in Carson City and has an interest in seeing it progress. But much of her presentation, as supervisors noted, focused on Nevada’s open meeting law, the need to comply with it and yet navigate the search period with an eye toward candidates’ needs for early confidentiality until the point is reached at which serious candidates must be publicly disclosed.

Murray made similar remarks when questioned about adherence to an open process.

Renschler, with her firm more than 28 years, is the chief recruiter there as well as the chief executive. The firm has nationwide experience, including work on the Washoe County manager search as well as the one for director of Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau. Renschler answered a host of board questions, among them one on checking backgrounds.

“It’s my job to make sure you’re not blind-sided on anything,” she assured board members as she explained methods to do that.

Her proposal said that typically such searches take 75 to 90 days after a contract and initial preparations, which she said could begin quickly, and the professional services fee was projected at $26,750. Candidate travel costs, however, and consultant travel for in-person screening interviews, if desired, are additional.

Renschler told board members an important part of her role is working with each of them, city human resources officials and community stakeholders. But she said she would prefer the latter not involve several committees with many members, as was the case in neighboring Washoe County.

“That will be very important,” she said of all those initial preparations, “before we go out into the marketplace.”

During deliberations after the presentation, Human Resources Director Melanie Bruketta told the board Renschler’s Ralph Andersen & Associates was her preference among the four interviewed. The other two firms in the hunt were Avery Associates of California and Marathon Staffing, a firm of national temporary and on-site staffing specialists with a local office.


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