Bozeman commissioners create wish list for new city manager


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Bozeman city commissioners are mulling over a long list of attributes they want to see in new city manager. The city ousted 13-year manager Chris Kukulski in March.

This wish list, created Thursday night at a special commission meeting, will be used in recruiting and interviewing candidates for the position.

With five city commissioners providing input, coming up with a single list is not an easy task. As the five went around listing their preferred attributes, there was some overlap on preferences. Commissioners agreed their new hire should be ethical, transparent and have all around good communication skills. Each commissioner did focus on a different characteristic they felt was important. The five also discussed what kind of personality and what kind of experience they prefer.

The city manager is essentially the commission's only employee so they get most of the say in this process.

Commissioner Jeff Krauss said, "(As a city manager) you must be able to say to the commission 'This is what the reality of the situation is and this is what's facing you.'"

Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus said, "(They must) help us get out of our box, whatever that might be, and pushing the envelope to help us think about things that might be coming around the corner."

Staff will clean up the list and bring it back to the commission in two weeks.

Mayor Carson Taylor says the public and stakeholders will have more opportunity for input at a later date.

In related city news, commissioners voted unanimously to contract an outside firm to assist in the process of hiring a city manager. This could cost between $20,000 and $25,000. This comes on top of the $181,400 severance package paid to Kukulski plus the $12,000 base salary the interim city manager will be paid. Commissioners agreed despite the cost, hiring a firm would be the most efficient way to go about this process.

Staff will send out solicitations to firms and it could take a week to hear back from all of them. The city will then take two to three weeks to narrow down their choice.

Commissioners also discussed the city manager's class specifications. That's the document listing the position's responsibilities. Human resource staff are suggesting revisions to the document. Commissioners agreed they will revisit the document at a later date.