Groves Council hears from prospective firms in city manager search

Published 12:22 am Sunday, February 12, 2023

GROVES — Three of four scheduled executive search firms made their case this week as to why they should be hired to find the next city manager for the City of Groves.

Edward Williams with Baker Tilly US, LLP, gave his company’s pitch in person at Groves Municipal Court on Thursday, while Cindy Hall and Lynn Barboza of Strategic Government Resources, and Kylie Wilson of CPS HR Consulting gave their information via Zoom.

A fourth firm, Slavin Management Consultants, was unable to give their presentation Thursday due to a scheduling issue.

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An official with the City of Groves said there would be a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at which Slavin will give a presentation via Zoom.

Groves Council listens as Kylie Wilson of CPS HR Consulting gives a presentation via Zoom. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Mayor Chris Borne declined to make a comment on the three presentations Thursday night, saying he would wait until all of the firms have presented their information to council.

Baker Tilly has worked with Port Arthur and Beaumont in recent years on city manager searches.

Borne asked Williams what tools he can offer to keep continuity with current staff and employees as a new city manager is brought on board.

“I think one of the most important things you can do is to have a strategic plan,” Williams said. “A strategic plan is basically a blueprint for organizational success.”

Council also wondered how the firm would market the city to prospective applicants. A good school district and safe city are some of the issues that were suggested.

Lynn Barboza with Strategic Government Resources presents information on her firm during the workshop. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Williams noted there are larger, more prosperous homes where the low end homes cost more than $1 million and there are towns that are poorer financially.

But there is one thing Williams would have to be able to sell to a prospective applicant — city council, he said. 

Respect for the city manager from city council as well as respect for each other on council are major issues. He said he knows of cities where the employees are afraid of their own city council.

Baker Tilly offers a triple guarantee, Williams said. The person’s employment is guaranteed for 12 months. If he or she leaves before then, the process will begin all over.

The firm pledges to work with the city until he finds the person they are happy with and thirdly, he will not recruit that person to go anywhere else.

Cindy Hall and Lynn Barboza of Strategic Government Resources, or SGR, said their firm is a full service firm that provides executive recruitment services , internet placement services, online training, live training, executive retreats and council workshops and a strategic foresight program. Should SGR be chosen as the executive firm, Barboza would be the recruiter and point of contact.

Wilson of CPS HR Consulting said they have recently worked with Bellaire, Dayton and Baytown in Texas

CPS HR Consulting also offers a variety of services like the other competitors.

All three firms represented Thursday said they would start off by meeting with council and staff or other stakeholders, if council chooses, to find out what they want in a city manager. The process moves on from there.

Former city manager D.E. Sosa submitted a separation agreement to the city in December, leaving after two decades as city manager. His final day was Jan. 3.

Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Lance Billeaud was appointed interim city manager in late December, and began serving in the role on Jan. 4.