Arkansas City Manager Nick Hernandez has recommended that the city hire a professional recruitment company to seek his replacement. Recruitment agencies will be asked to submit a proposal for their services. 

The request states that the proposals must be received by 5 p.m on Dec. 6.

Hernandez announced this week that he had accepted the city manager job in Dodge City. His contract there starts June 1.

Commissioner Kanyon Gingher said a review committee, comprised of Jay Warren, Hernandez, Human Resources Director Marla McFarland and herself, will review the proposals and make a recommendation to the commission for approval. 

“We’re just selecting the company that will go through the applicants,” she said. 

The city hopes to have an agreement with a recruitment firm come before the full city commission by early January.

A request for proposals states that the city’s goal would be to have the city manager position filled by April 1, with the person starting work by mid to late May.

The firm would review and screen all potential candidates, as well as develop a short list of three to five candidates for commissioners and make recommendations for the two to three finalists.

It would then facilitate interviews with commissioners and meetings with city department heads before a final decision is made by commissioners.

On Friday during a special city commission meeting, commissioners, including commissioner-elect Scott Rogers, along with Hernandez and Human Resources Manager Marla McFarland, then went into executive session to discuss matters pertaining to the search process for a new manager.

Before entering into executive session, Sybrant asked for discussion of Hernandez’s current contract to be included in that session. He noted that the current contract renews in January, and includes cost of living increases and a merit bonus.

Sybrant said he wants to be fair to Hernandez and keep him on as long as long as possible, but he also wants to have some flexibility.

“The question is, if you hire a new city manager who wants to come to work in March, what do we do?” he asked.

Sybrant said he wanted to sit down with Hernandez and the commission and work out a fair way to handle that situation.

“I want an executive session to discuss what we’ve already started discussing with the five commissioners and Nick, so I can openly say some things that I do not want to say publicly,” he said.

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