South Lake Tahoe to search for city manager, fire chief at same time
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe City Council has started preparing for the new city manager search.
During a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 17, the council spoke in a closed session about a possible interim general manager who will take over for Frank Rush Jr. after his last day on Jan. 24.
Once the closed session was over, they announced they’ve narrowed down the potential candidates and will interview them on Dec. 27.
Before addressing new business, public comment featured more of the same people from the past couple of meetings speaking out against cell towers.
The council then discussed fire chief recruitment. Human Resource Manager Tom Stuart recommended the council hold off on the search until a new city manager is hired.
The current Interim Fire Chief Bruce Martin will run out of hours in March, and he said there is one qualified battalion chief willing to take over the role. However, he did suggest the council move forward with the fire chief search when he was asked by council how department moral is doing.
“I think you’re going to have to attend to it,” Martin said. “They want to know who their boss is going to be.”
South Lake Tahoe Fire Association Union President Scott Blasser also suggested the council move forward with the search, saying union members are carrying a lot of weight for lack of management. He also suggested the council start offering better pay and benefits to the staff.
“I keep asking for better pay and benefits not because I’m greedy, it’s because I’m tired of seeing people leave,” Blasser said.
The council, listening to the concerns of Martin and Blasser, directed Stuart to keep searching even without the new city manager in place.
When it came to the city manager search, the council decided to use Prothman, the recruiting service used to find Frank Rush Jr. Prothman is honoring a one-year guarantee so there will be no professional fee for services. The city will still have to cover advertising and transportation costs.
“Prothman brought us our current city attorney and city manager and they did an excellent job,” said Councilwoman Tamara Wallace.
Prothman will speak to each council member individually about what qualifications they’d like to see for the next city manager but the council also discussed that as a group.
The council agreed someone similar to Rush would be good.
“His kindness and niceness was exactly what we needed,” Wallace said. “We have disagreements down, he brought a civility we really could use more of.”
The council asked Rush what he would recommend the council look for.
“Keep doing what you’re doing in terms of trying to pursue professionalism and civility,” Rush said. “It’s a tough place to work for sure.”
They also asked City Attorney Heather Stroud, who works closely with the city manager, what she’d like to see in a candidate.
“If you could find someone who is a good team player, a good communicator, a good listener and someone very intelligent, I’d be very happy with that,” Stroud said.
Prothman will spend this week talking to the council, then they will post the profile on Dec. 24, and start advertising on Jan. 6.