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OTTUMWA — The city received three written proposals from companies interested in guiding the search for a city administrator. Now the council is being asked to approve one of them.

City Attorney Joni Keith and Mayor/Interim City Administrator Tom Lazio are recommending Moulder & Associates/Midwest Municipal Consulting for the work. The company is proposing fees of $14,500 for the search.

Cities often hire outside companies to conduct searches for top positions, and Ottumwa has done so for the past several city administrator searches. The city sought proposals quickly in the wake of former City Administrator Andy Morris’ resignation.

Moulder & Associates is based in Iowa. Documentation included in the council members’ packets for next week’s meeting said the company offers a one-year guarantee, similar to what Ottumwa has received with previous searches. The guarantee means the city would only pay expenses if the new administrator leaves the job within a year of being hired.

While much of the search process is carried out through traditional means such as advertising, search firms also use contacts they have developed with potential candidates to widen the pool. The company’s proposal said such personal contacts “tend to be the most fruitful source of top applicants.”

The proposal also lays out the first detailed timeline for finding a new administrator. City officials have said the process would likely take three to six months, with the longer end of that time frame more probable. The proposed timeline shows an initial list of seven to 10 finalists in early December, with initial phone interviews helping to pare that to a final slate of three to five candidates by the middle of the month.

Formal interviews are penciled in for the first week of January. The new administrator would start in February or March, depending on whether their contract requires 30 or 60 days’ notice for resignation.

The company also provided the city with a list of recent searches it has conducted. Many involved public safety positions like police or fire chiefs, though it did conduct city manager searches for Carroll and Windsor Heights.

The council’s meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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