DALLAS — The Dallas City Council adopted the schedule and hiring criteria for its city manager search on March 4 following a public hearing.

The council met with Sean O’ Day, the executive director of the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments on Feb. 19 to discuss the process. On March 4, O’Day brought a time line and criteria for the council to approve. The public hearing gave citizens a chance to provide input.

One person spoke, Dallas resident Mike Arras, who said the search and its criteria should be conducted in public.

According to state statute, the city can conduct interviews with candidates in closed session as long as the city adopts “hiring standards, criteria, and policy direction in meetings open to the public in which the public has had an opportunity to comment on the standards.”

The time line had advertisement for the position beginning on March 5 and closing on June 6. The council will meet in closed session on June 17 to select up to five candidates for a background check and interviews.

Candidates who pass the background and reference checks will attend a community open house on July 15. Interviews will be conducted in closed session with three panels: the council, community members, and city partners and city staff.

On July 16, in closed session, the council will select a candidate and begin contract negotiations.

On Aug. 5, the council is slated to approve the contract in open session. According to the time line, a new city manager should be in city hall in August or September. 

The approximately six-month search schedule was more appealing to the council than the original proposal that would have a person in the post by July, when current City Manager Greg Ellis retires.

“I’m much more comfortable with this because I was very concerned that the prior schedule was so compressed that we really wouldn’t have enough time to go out there and do recruiting,” Councilor Kelly Gabliks said.

The council adopted the criteria and schedule in a unanimous vote. Mayor Brian Dalton addressed Arras’ concern.

“It will be quite a public process,” Dalton said. “There will be a public forum, a meet-and-greet.”

Ellis said there are four candidates willing to serve as the city’s interim city manager between when he retires and when the new person takes over.

“I want to know if that’s something I should bring to the next council (meeting),” Ellis said. “It’s kind of time-sensitive because one of the candidates is Gene Green the (interim) public works director.”

If Green moved to interim city manager in July, Ellis would have to search for a new public works director.

“If it’s going to be Gene, I need to start that soon,” Ellis said.

Human Resources Director Emily Gagner said she will place a discussion on selecting an interim on the March 18 council meeting agenda and include candidate resumes in the packet for the council to review.

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