Atherton may hire firm to recruit manager | February 29, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 29, 2012

Atherton may hire firm to recruit manager

by Renee Batti

The Atherton City Council will meet in a special session at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, to decide whether to hire a recruiter to find a new city manager — abandoning a plan to have former interim manager John Danielson conduct the search.

The council will vote on a recommendation to budget up to $17,000 to hire an executive firm to recruit a permanent manager, which the town has been without since October 2010.

The likely change in course is the result of a delay by the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) in signing off on Mr. Danielson's contract as an independent contractor.

When Mr. Danielson, a retired city manager, was hired as Atherton's interim manager in January 2011 at a rate of $15,000 per month, he was collecting a pension from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Under state law, his tenure in Atherton was limited to a specified number of hours, and only one year in duration if he was to continue receiving his pension.

But because he failed to recruit a new manager before his contract ended Jan. 2, the town tried to get an extension from CalPERS. When that effort failed, the council approved a contract, carefully crafted to pass muster with CalPERS, to hire Mr. Danielson as a consultant to recruit a new manager and to advise the new interim manager, as needed. It then submitted the contract to the state agency to make sure it met all legal requirements.

In a staff report, Interim City Manager Theresa DellaSanta said that CalPERS contacted the town last week and said its review of Mr. Danielson's contract could take up to two more months, and now she and Mr. Danielson "felt it was appropriate" to end the delay and ask the council to shift course so that the town could more quickly hire a new manager.

Also on the Feb. 28 special meeting agenda, the council will discuss the city manager recruitment process and establish a timeline for hiring a manager.

The meeting will be held in the Town Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.


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