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Local search firms to help Mayor Reed fill city’s top jobs

By Maria Saporta

As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed seeks to build his administration, five executive search firms have signed on to provide their services free of charge.

On Monday, Reed and his transition team announced the search teams for a new police chief and a new fire chief.

The search firm of Russell Reynolds is assisting in the police chief search. And the search firm of BoardWalk Consulting is working on the fire chief search.

Three other key searches also are underway. The search for a new chief financial officer, the search for a new public works commissioner and the search for a new city attorney.

The firm of SpencerStuart is conducting the CFO search; the firm — Hodge Partners — is doing the public works search; and the firm of Hughes Consulting is involved in the city attorney search.

In an interview after the press conference, Reed said his administration is following the lead that former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin set when she took office eight years ago. She also had turned to search firms (several of the same ones involved this time around) to help, on a pro-bono basis, find the best people for the various jobs at City Hall.

“We are using the same model because when you win an election, you have a moment in time to ask for help,” Reed said.

These five searches — which Reed said are central to the city’s operations — are to be completed over the next 120 days.

Then the city will proceed to the next batch of searches, which likely will include finding an new parks commissioner, and new president of the Atlanta Development Authority, and a new general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In those three cases, Reed said they all have current management that can operate their various departments.

“People are already sending in resumés,” Reed said. “We’ve received 800 resumés since Dec. 9. When we hired Peter Aman (as chief operating officer), that opened up a flood gate of resumés.”

Also, certain positions, such as the hiring of a comptroller, Reed said the city likely will identify strong candidates through its CFO search.

Last week, Reed met with the members of the Commerce Club board where he talked about plans for his administration.

“I can’t imagine that it could have gone any better,” Reed said of the visit with the high-level group of Atlanta business leaders. “I think they are feeling very good about our search process.”

Later Reed said that he talked to the business leaders about creating a “best-in-class” CFO team so that the city can have more than one person keeping an eye on the city’s finances to prevent the city from being “shocked” by bad financial news.

Meanwhile, Reed said that Mayor Franklin’s budget outlook for the city was quite close to the current projections.

“The budget was at $541 million, and if we don’t blow it, we will be at $528 million,” Reed said. “That’s a lot better than many other governments.”

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


1 Comment

  1. jeremy garlington February 10, 2010 3:52 pm

    Solid report as always, Maria. Just one question: Why wouldn’t the city/new administration consider one firm, or better yet, a head of recruiting to manage the hiring process vs. ferreting things out to multiple search firms? 800+ resumes only the tip of the iceberg. City needs a strong cohesive team with some semblance of shared values or else it’s going to be more of the same.



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