Portland’s city manager search subcommittee is still hoping to be able to post the top city executive’s job by Jan. 19, though they may not be able to hire anyone until mid-to-late April.
Anne Lewis, a representative from the search firm Baker Tilly, described the stages planned for the search to the subcommittee on Monday.
There are several milestones listed with unspecific dates, and Lewis said the panel should begin to hammer home those time frames so she can communicate them to candidates who may also be fielding other offers.
“This is a candidates’ market,” she said. “There are a lot of positions open, there are a lot of communities they can consider.”
Lewis envisions having the posting open until Feb. 16, giving applicants roughly a month to apply. Lewis plans to screen applications until March 3, at which point she would ask candidates to complete a written questionnaire and participate in a video interview “to see how they talk extemporaneously.”
Qualified applicants’ materials will be given to the subcommittee for review, and formal interviews would begin April 10. Mayor Kate Snyder, who chairs the group, said that April and May are the busiest months for budget building, and it would be challenging to drop a new city manager into the middle of the process.
Members shouldn’t be discouraged by a small initial pool, Lewis said, because candidates often wait until the end of the window to apply as they research the city.
The city has had an interim manager, Danielle West, since November 2021, when former CIty Manager Jon Jennings resigned. West has not definitively said if she plans to seek the permanent job.
The firm had initially planned for consultants to interview dozens of different stakeholders — including leaders from schools, immigrant organizations, developers, social services and business groups — before posting the job, but now plans to do that when the job is posted.
“The earlier design was probably dragging down the posting process,” Councilor Mark Dion said.
The subcommittee will meet again on Jan. 12 to vote on affirming the job description. Lewis plans to have a draft brochure of the position ready for that meeting.