Consultant in search for York County manager fired

adouglas@heraldonline.comApril 23, 2013 

Britt Blackwell

SPECIAL TO THE HERALD

— The York County Council has fired the Texas-based firm it hired in February to conduct a search for the next county manager.

After meeting in executive session for more than two hours Monday night, four members of the council voted unanimously to part ways with Strategic Government Resources.

Three councilmen – Bump Roddey, Joe Cox and Curwood Chappell – left the meeting early. In total, the council met in public and behind closed doors for 41/2 hours Monday night.

An SGR representative spoke with the council during executive session to present about 30 applicants interested in the county manager position.

The council was “not satisfied with the volume or the quality of the pool of applicants,” said Chairman Britt Blackwell.

Representatives from the search firm did not return calls or emails from The Herald on Tuesday.

The county has probably lost one month’s time and up to $10,000 by firing SGR, Blackwell said.

With the delay, it will probably be midsummer before the county hires a new manager, he said.

York County would have paid SGR about $24,000 for completing the search process, according to its contract with the firm.

Choosing a qualified county manager is “probably the most important thing the council does,” besides making good decisions with taxpayer money, Blackwell said.

SGR has never been a search consultant in South Carolina or surrounding states, according to information on its website. All but two of its current searches are for positions in Texas.

York County tapped SGR for the job about one month after former County Manager Jim Baker resigned to take a job in Chesapeake, Va.

Assistant County Manager Anna Moore has been serving as interim manager.

Moore will serve for a few more months as the search continues, Blackwell said, adding that More has being a team player by doing so.

Ten search firms based around the country in places including Florida, California and two from Texas, asked for consideration to conduct the search when council members approved sending out a request for interest in December.

One of the companies considered was Waters Consulting Firm which recently helped Charlotte hire its new city manager. The city of Charlotte paid the firm less than $30,000.

Councilman Chappell opposed soliciting information from consultants in December.

Chappell wanted to wait, he said at the time, because two seats on the council were due to change the next month following swearing-in ceremonies for newly elected officials.

He was the lone “no” vote and walked out of the meeting and did not return after the vote.

York County will be moving forward soon on the search, Blackwell said Tuesday.

County leaders may consider hiring one of the two search firms that made it on the council’s top three list, he said, if those companies are still interested.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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