Mayor Defends Search Fee For City Manager

Taneytown Pays City Attorney $3,000 For His Efforts

January 29, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff writer

TANEYTOWN — There's more than one way to pick a city manager.

Mayor Henry I. Reindollar said he has no regrets relying heavily on City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield to coordinate the search at a cost of $3,000.

But at least one current council member and a former member believe Joseph Mangini, the city's new manager, could have been selected by a group of council members who earn $30 a meeting.

Mangini starts Feb. 3, after being selected unanimously by the council in a closedmeeting Jan. 20. Stansfield made the announcement Jan. 21, saying the council would take a formal vote at its next regular meeting Feb. 10.

Other city and town councils, such as Westminster's last year, managed to do a search on their own, said Marvin Flickinger, a barberand former Taneytown councilman.

"That's what we elect the mayor and the council for," Flickinger said. "These guys are in charge of amillion-dollar budget."

At the last council meeting, Flickinger questioned the wisdom of paying Stansfield for the work, especially inyears of tight city and county budgets.

Councilman Henry C. HeineJr. said he agreed with Flickinger.

"I don't believe it was totally necessary," he said. But once he realized the mayor and search committee had delegated much of the search to Stansfield, the process was well under way, Heine said.

"By the time we had knowledge of it,it was kind of like water under the dam," Heine said.

Reindollar defended his decision, saying that Stansfield and his office were thelogical choice as a base for the search.

"He's part of the team there, and he deals quite a bit with the city manager, too," Reindollar said. "We do use him quite a bit for advice on many things. It keeps us out of trouble and shortens the process. He does a lot of thingsfor free."

Stansfield charges the city by an hourly rate -- $100,compared to his usual rate of $110 to $125.

Heine said he did, however, agree with Reindollar that it could have been awkward to have resumes coming into the city offices because of an internal applicant, Clerk/Treasurer Linda Hess.

The only workers in the city office are Hess, retiring City Manager Neal Powell, a part-time clerk and a code enforcement officer.

Hess, however, said she and others in the office are professional enough to be able to field the mail for thesearch.

The Westminster City Council handled all the work for thesearch, using a clerk in City Hall for some of the secretarial aspects, such as sending out letters.

However, the Westminster council that took office in May abolished the position four months after Philip Hertz was hired.

Former Westminster City Councilman Mark Snydersaid the members never considered hiring anyone else to coordinate the search. He and two other members advertised the job and narrowed the field of about 70 applicants, then recommended about a dozen finalists to the full council.

All three council members had full-time jobs, so they got together on Saturdays, Snyder said.

"We did not find it an overwhelming task," Snyder said. "I personally enjoyed being part of the process."

But Snyder said he would not criticize the Taneytown City Council for relying on its attorney for much of the search.

"Every town has its own needs. It's all relative," Snyder said.

He said he could understand the awkwardness of having an internal candidate -- Hess -- in a position that otherwise could have done the clerical work for the search.

"But you could work around that," he said, by instructing Hess only to receive the mail and send it off unopened to a city councilman.

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