The Chapel Hill Town Council has started the process of finding a replacement for Town Manager Roger Stancil, who announced his intent to retire this fall.
The council held a work session Wednesday to discuss Stancil’s replacement. Stancil, who was first appointed by the town council in 2006, has served as town manager for 12 years and will hold his position while the selection process is underway.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger praised Stancil for giving the council ample time to find an appropriate replacement. She expects the process to take six months, but said the council’s goal is to identify the new town manager before they break for the summer.
“Roger gave us plenty of lead time, so we have the time to get the right person for the job," Hemminger said.
Hemminger said the new manager should be able to handle the challenges the town faces in the upcoming years.
“It’s got to be someone who wants to embrace who we are as a community,” she said. “Someone who understands the value of partnerships and working together."
Public input will play a part in the hiring process. In one stage of the recruitment, final candidates will undergo a situational interview where community members and partners will give evaluations on how those candidates responded to a simulated situation.
“We want the community to be involved in this, and I think it’s going to be very informative to hear what the community says about what they see the challenges of our town are," Hemminger said.
Town Council Member Jessica Anderson believes that public input is essential to the selection process. Anderson said community involvement plays an important part in making Chapel Hill unique and the next manager needs to value that involvement.
“We need to make sure the community feels comfortable with this person because they’re going to be interacting a lot," Anderson said.
The council is currently considering consultants for the hiring process. At the work session on Wednesday, Stephen K. Straus and Heather A. Lee of Developmental Associates, LLC, presented their plan to the town council. Anderson said the plan highlighted research based strategies that focused on evaluating candidates based on their ability to handle the issues Chapel Hill is currently facing.
“I love the idea of us deciding as a council and a greater community: what are the challenges that we’re facing,” Anderson said. "And then having the candidates go through simulations and mock meetings and roleplaying situations where they would be tackling those issues.”
Anderson noted that the council will lose a lot of institutional knowledge when Stancil leaves. Because of this, she believes the selection is one of the most important things the council will do.
“If we’re lucky, that person stays a long time, and they impact the direction of the future of the town,” Anderson said. “So, I think that we have a huge job ahead of us and we’re really well prepared.”
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