The amount of money cities pay companies to do their recruiting for them is ridiculous, especially in stepping-stone communities where administrators seem to turn over every two or three years.
However, if a city insists on using a search firm to find its next city administrator, it should at least make sure it is getting the maximum value for its money.
Recently, the City of Lester Prairie interviewed representatives from four executive search firms, and ultimately hired one of them to find the city a new administrator.
This week, the company asked city staff to come up with photos and content for an eight-page brochure that the company will use to “sell” the community to prospective applicants.
That is absolutely outrageous.
The company is being paid $16,000 plus expenses to recruit an administrator for the city.
For that kind of money, the company should have a professional photographer and designer on staff to create its brochures.
One of the justifications used by search firms (and the city council) is that hiring them takes the burden off of the current city staff. Yet, the first thing out of the gate, the search firm hired by the Lester Prairie City Council is asking city staff to do the work for them.
If the city were going to do the work anyway, it could have saved the taxpayers more than $16,000 by keeping the project in-house.
It remains to be seen what kind of value this company will bring to the city by the time the process is finished.
However, it is difficult to be optimistic based on the way things are starting.
Councilors Tim Dahl and Bob Messer voted against the motion to hire this particular firm to do the work.
So far, it looks like Dahl and Messer may have been right.