PIEDMONT -- The City Council on Monday informally reviewed proposals from five firms interested in conducting the executive search for a new city administrator.

Last month, City Administrator Geoff Grote announced his retirement as effective in February.

A subcommittee of Mayor John Chiang and Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka will announce at the Sept. 16 City Council their recommendations of what firm to choose after thoroughly reviewing the five proposals. The full council will review their suggestions at that time and members expected to choose the recruiter for a fee not to exceed $30,000.

The five firms are: Avery Associates of Los Gatos; Bob Murray & Associates of Roseville; Colin Baenziger & Associates of Florida; Peckham & McKenney of Sacramento; and Ralph Andersen of Rocklin.

Avery was responsible for finding Piedmont's new finance/human resources director Erick Cheung. Murray led the search that resulted in the hires of police Chief Rikki Goede and Fire Chief "Bud" McLaren, an in-house hire.

Each firm provided detailed proposals on how they would go about finding a replacement for Grote. Every firm has extensive experience in finding city managers and other executive positions in California and beyond. Their full proposals may be viewed at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us and clicking on City Council. The proposals range in cost from $20,000 from Florida-based Baenziger to about $25,000 from the other four applicants.

Councilman Jeff Wieler said he was not keen on hiring the Florida firm because of their location. Councilman Garrett Keating liked Avery, saying he was impressed with the diversity of candidates they brought to the table.

The council welcomes the public's input on what qualities should be sought in a new city administrator. They proposed a web survey in addition to encouraging written or email input as well as public testimony. The recruitment process takes about 16 weeks, from screening of candidates by the consultants, to culling down the applicants, to making recommendations for the finalists.

In other business, the council voted on two resolutions to be brought to the League of California Cities' general assembly meeting to be held Sept. 20.

Goede explained the resolutions are an affirmation of support.

The first resolution has to do with realignment. It asks that the governor and state Legislature enter into discussions with the League and California Police Chiefs Association to enact strategies that will ensure the success of public safety realignment, a shifting of prisoners from state prisons to local counties and cities.

Realignment was signed into law by the governor two years ago, but it contains flaws that need to be addressed. Those include inadequate data bases on offenders, lack of secure funding, shortages of probation officers and programs for released inmates.

"With an estimated 12,000 offenders being shifted from state prison to local jails by the end of this fiscal year added to the 40,000 offenders already 'realigned' since October, 2011, it will be difficult to realize lower crime rates in the future," Goede said.

The second resolution addresses prioritizing water conservation programs and the increased requirements placed on cities.

"It does not directly affect Piedmont," City Clerk John Tulloch said.

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