Aberdeen’s city administrator search almost done

Help is coming soon for the city of Aberdeen’s top brass, and Mayor Pete Schave is pretty happy about it.

The city’s staff is undergoing a recruiting process for a city administrator. The hiring of such a position would help Schave handle the “big picture” stuff. The city administrator would handle the day-to-day tasks.

“We’re going through the process,” said Schave after the Aberdeen City Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10. “We met with a lot of candidates.”

Schave said Thursday Aug. 11, two panels met with four candidates. Now, it’s down to one candidate. He would not say if the candidate was from the area.

Schave said he wouldn’t say much about the current step of the search, because of privacy concerns for the person who may possibly take the position. The same practice has been used during the recruitment process for other city positions.

And it sounds like he doesn’t want to jinx the city in its recruiting process.

“If the candidate can’t go through the (whole) process, we’d need to go back,” Schave said.

He said the city would need to start all over with a new candidate.

Schave said the City Council budgeted for the position in the 2022 city budget.

He said 2022 “is eight months old,” while noting the City Council plans to budget for the position in 2023, too. “The City Council wants a city administrator. I didn’t object to it.”

The position’s budgeted total cost would range between $189,269 in step 1, and $221,783 in step 5. Operating expenses — such as travel, a laptop, advertising for the position, and office furniture — figure into the cost.

The salary alone would range between $171,025 and $203,539. The salary would include fringe costs, such as insurance, pension, and Social Security.

The city administrator’s duties would include dealing with personnel, and spending time on daily tasks. In late April, Schave said the time he spends with daily tasks was a concern and how he gets “sidetracked.”

The addition of a city administrator — who would operate like the city’s chief operating officer — has been discussed for a while. In a discussion on April 27, the City Council voted 7-5 in favor of adopting the job description for the city administrator, and to authorize advertising to fill the position, according to The Daily World.

Back then, the city had not approved the hiring of a city administrator. Aberdeen City Council President Kati Kachman said the earliest the city could fill the position and begin work would likely be in July 2022.

With the potential hiring that Schave said was a few weeks away, he shared his feelings about having someone take over the city administrator role.

“I’m very excited,” Schave said. “I look forward to having a trained, educated person in management.”