City Commission Meeting Highlights, May 22, 2018

Approval of Motion to Enter Into Negotiations with James Arndt Regarding City Manager Position

After conducting face-to-face interviews today with each of the three City Manager candidates, the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a motion to move forward with contract negotiations with James (Jim) Arndt to serve as Paducah’s next City Manager.  Arndt currently serves as City Administrator for Effingham, Illinois.

The motion is as follows:  I make a motion for the Interim City Manager to enter into contract negotiations in order to reach a mutually agreeable contract with Mr. James Arndt.  Upon reaching an agreement, the Board will select Mr. Arndt as City Manager of the City of Paducah.

If contract negotiations are successful, an employment agreement will be set for adoption at an upcoming meeting of the Board.

Arndt has more than 14 years of local government experience and spent an additional six years as a police officer and three years serving in the United States Army.  He currently serves the city of Effingham, Illinois, where he has worked as their City Administrator for the past eight years.  He has also been the Administrator for the City of St. Clair, Missouri and the Village of Union City, Ohio.  Arndt holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies, both from Eastern Illinois University, and is an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Credentialed Manager. 

Mayor Brandi Harless thanked the candidates for their time and effort this week during this interview process.  She also thanked the community for coming out to meet the candidates at last night’s Meet & Greet reception.

Mayor Harless also thanked Strategic Government Resources (SGR) for its recruiting work.  Mayor Harless said, “The firm that we hired did an in-depth due diligence process to make sure there were no surprises.  I want to make it clear that we had media searches, background checks, employment verifications, and a list of ten other documentation types that the firm worked really hard to make sure we had in front of us before we made our choice today.  I want to reassure the community that this was not done in haste, but we were also very diligent in making sure that we didn’t go very long without a permanent city manager.”

Commissioner Richard Abraham said, “I like to say we were quick (in the process), but we weren’t in a hurry.  I think we did our due diligence, and I’m excited about moving forward.”

Commissioner Sarah Stewart Holland said, “There’s something about seeing the place you love reflected back to you from someone coming into the community for the first time, and all of the candidates were so generous of their praise of the community and the community members.”

Parks & Recreation Director Mark Thompson has been serving as Interim City Manager since January 13.  The Board thanked Thompson and staff for all of their work during this interim period. 

For the last several months, the City has been working with SGR of Keller, Texas to conduct and assist in a nationwide search for the recruitment and selection of the City’s next City Manager.  The three finalists were in Paducah yesterday and today for the final elements of the interview process.  Yesterday, each candidate had an opportunity to tour the City, meet with Department Directors, and attend a Meet & Greet reception to engage with the public.  Today, the Paducah Board of Commissioners interviewed each candidate individually.  Prior to this on-site interview process, SGR conducted a vetting process on each candidate including a psychometric assessment, a thorough media search, and a rigorous background investigation.

Applications were accepted for the City Manager position through April 13, which resulted in an applicant pool of 32 candidates from 17 states with 19 of the candidates having City Manager or Assistant/Deputy City Manager experience.  On April 17 the Paducah Board of Commissioners met with SGR Senior Vice President Doug Thomas to review the candidate pool and select semifinalists to continue in the search process.  That process narrowed the candidate pool to ten semifinalists.  Those candidates then completed a comprehensive questionnaire, online video interviews, an applicant Predictive Index Assessment, and additional application materials.  On May 9, the Paducah Board of Commissioners narrowed the field to James Arndt, James Halasz, Cole O’Donnell, and James (Mark) Rooney.  Rooney withdrew from the process a few days ago.