The search for Santa Fe’s next city manager has attracted a pool of more than four dozen applicants with a mix of qualifications and experience.
While a convenience store manager, a stage handler and an esthetician who applied for the high-profile and demanding job may not make the first round of cuts, many of the applicants, including several former city managers and administrators, appear to meet the minimum qualifications.
The job, advertised with a salary range of $118,600 to $177,900 a year, requires a bachelor’s degree and eight years “of increasingly responsible managerial experience in planning, organizing, directing and overseeing a large organization.”
Among the applicants is Santiago Chávez, who served as Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s chief of staff, deputy chief administrative officer and acting transit director before he stepped down last week to take a job as chief financial officer for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Efforts to reach Chávez for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
Other applicants include Bradley Fluetsch, the city of Santa Fe’s planning and investment officer; Ronald “Ron” Spilman, a former state controller and Exxon Mobil executive; and Joseph Sánchez, government relations legislative liaison for the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Applicant Robert Coleman, a former Sunland Park city manager, is now the budget and grants manager for the city of Las Cruces, and Philip Rodriguez served as city manager in Brighton, Colo., until a split City Council there opted not to renew his employment agreement. Rodriguez also served as city manager in Athens, Texas, according to his application.
The city announced Tuesday that the deadline to apply for the job is Nov. 13.
To spearhead the search, the administration of Mayor Alan Webber is working with Management Partners, a consulting firm the city said “specializes in helping local governments cast a wide net for the most qualified candidates to fill administrative positions.”
“I think we’re going about this the right way,” Webber said in a statement. “We’re using an experienced firm with national relationships to do outreach, on the one hand. On the other hand, we’re encouraging talented local managers who have more familiarity with the special qualities of Santa Fe and New Mexico to put themselves forward as candidates.”
It’s unclear how many Santa Fe or New Mexico residents applied for the job because the city redacted applicants’ addresses, including the cities in which they reside, in documents released in response to a public records request.
Management Partners, which is being paid $17,600 to lead the search, is not only evaluating applicants but recruiting potential candidates.
“Last week during the [International City/County Management Association] conference, they had direct outreach opportunities to more than 3,000 attendees,” the city wrote in a news release. “The firm is also utilizing LinkedIn and other professional networks to solicit interest. They have also identified a list of prospects they are actively pursuing.”
The city has been looking for a city manager since Erik Litzenberg stepped down this summer. Shortly after Litzenberg announced he was leaving the city, Santa Fe County announced it had hired him as its fire chief.
The city is asking that interested candidates submit a cover letter and résumé to Management Partners.
It was unclear late Thursday whether the job applications provided by the city under a New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act request included applications that may have been submitted directly to the consulting firm.
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.