November 13, 2018

MEMO TO:        Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:             Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:       Resolution Authorizing Contract with The Mercer Group for Town Manager Recruitment Services - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the attached resolution authorizing a contract with The Mercer Group, Raleigh, NC, for Town Manager recruitment services.  The total amount of the contract is not to exceed $22,500, and includes comprehensive services to assist the Mayor and Board with this lengthy and involved process. 

The proposed contract includes the following services to help the Mayor and Commissioners identify a quality individual to serve as the next Town Manager:

  • completion of a position analysis that incorporates the desired qualities that the Board is seeking in the new Town Manager,
  • preparation of a detailed recruitment brochure,
  • coordination of a national and regional recruitment process, including strategic advertisement and outreach activities,
  • careful review of applicant resumes and submittals,
  • preliminary screening of qualified applicants,
  • completion of thorough background checks,
  • recommendation of candidates for interviews, and coordination of the finalist interview process,
  • assistance to the Board in evaluating the finalists to identify the best candidate fit for Emerald Isle, and
  • negotiation of employment terms and associated tasks. 

The Town issued a formal request for proposals for these services in October, and received a total of 6 proposals prior to the November 2 deadline.  Proposals were received from the following firms:

  • Colin Baenziger & Associates, Daytona Beach Shores, FL    $26,500
  • Developmental Associates, Chapel Hill, NC                           $19,650 + background fees
  • GovHR USA, Northbrook, IL                                                   $22,500
  • The Mercer Group, Raleigh, NC                                             $22,500
  • Slavin Management Consultants, Norcross, GA                     $23,350
  • Springsted Waters, Mechanicsville, VA                                  $24,500.

Following individual review of the proposals by the Mayor and each Commissioner, the firms submitting the top 2 proposals – The Mercer Group and Springsted Waters -- were interviewed electronically by Mayor Barber, Commissioner Dooley, and Commissioner Finch on November 7.  Based on the quality of the proposal, the firm’s extensive experience with NC local government officials, and the interactive dialogue on November 7, the group recommends that the Town award the contract for Town Manager recruitment services to The Mercer Group.

The Mercer Group will assign Ellis Hankins, former longtime Executive Director of the NC League of Municipalities, and Charles Penny, retired City Manager of Rocky Mount, to lead this process for the Town.  Both individuals are highly respected in NC local government, both have a thorough understanding of the role of the Town Manager, both are familiar with Emerald Isle, and both have an extensive network of regional and national contacts.  The Mercer Group has assisted numerous local governments with the recruitment process for key positions in the past 5 years, including Clinton, Creedmoor, Pinehurst, and Red Springs in North Carolina, and coastal communities including Delray Beach, FL, Dunedin, FL, Key Biscayne, FL, Kiawah Island, SC, Marco Island, FL, and Seabrook Island, SC.  

If the Board approves the contract with The Mercer Group, initial work will begin later in November.  The Mercer Group will work with the Board during December to determine the ideal candidate profile, and then advertise accordingly in December and January.  It is likely that candidate applications would be due at the end of January, screening would occur during February, and finalist interviews would occur in late February and/or March.  The likely start date for the next Town Manager would be sometime in April. 

Although NC law does not require the selection of the consulting firm with the lowest cost (and encourages the Town to select the most qualified firm), The Mercer Group’s proposal is, in fact, the lowest cost proposal.  There are sufficient funds included in the FY 18-19 budget for Administration for this contract.

I have attached a copy of the Town’s RFP issued on October 24, along with the full proposal submitted by The Mercer Group.  Due to the significant volume of paper associated with each proposal (generally 30+ pages for each), I have not attached the other 5 proposals.  These proposals are, however, included on the Town’s website.

I look forward to the Board’s review of the proposed contract with The Mercer Group.