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Markus to conduct recruitment for new manager

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham City Manager Tom Markus will begin the search for a new city manager after receiving direction from the Birmingham City Commission to conduct a formal recruitment for the position during their meeting on Monday, October 3.

As part of the preparation for beginning formal recruitment, a recruitment profile, including an introduction to the community and candidate criteria, was created for the anticipated external listing of the position on Tuesday, October 25. The application review process is slated to start at the beginning of December, with a public meet and greet with the finalists in January of 2023, and the appointment of the new city manager anticipated in February or March. Markus’ contract is set to expire at the end of June 2023

Markus told the commission that the profile will be sent to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), Michigan Municipal League (MML), Michigan City Managers Association, and other online job-seeking platforms to advertise the position. He also explained the selection process, stating that he, along with city staff, will conduct reviews of the application and present five to seven finalists to the commission. The commission will select from the finalists following public engagement periods and interviews.

Commissioner Brad Host noted his apprehension regarding Markus leading the search for his replacement, stating that he believes a third-party hiring firm would be a better option for the city to move forward.

“The sole responsibility this commission has is to hire and fire a city manager. To defer and make Tom our agent only adds potentially lots of layers to not being transparent, and I think to ensure the transparency of this whole endeavor we need to have a disinterested third party executive search firm … with the notion that if it’s money out of our pocket to have such an independent group, Tom could be the administrator or the facilitator, he’s already shown that, but I would much prefer not to have an in-house agent,” Host said.

In response to Host’s comments, mayor Therese Longe noted that the commission already had the opportunity to decide if they wanted to go the route of working with a third-party firm before directing Markus to head the search, and there are only eight months left before Markus’ term expires.

Commissioner Elaine McLain, while agreeing with Host’s push for transparency and legitimacy in the hiring process, noted that third-party firms may not be working with the city’s best interest. “The national firm is working on behalf of other candidates and not necessarily working from our side,” McLain pointed out.

The commission voted 5-1 to approve the resolution to direct Markus to conduct a formal recruitment, with commissioner Host voting against the resolution. Commissioner Clinton Baller was absent from the meeting.


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