By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on August 26, 2020
Beginning the process of replacing the only town manager that the town has ever had, the Duck Town Council preliminarily reviewed the four firms vying to conduct the search for a new manager at a special Aug. 26, meeting. The council also agreed on a timetable to select a search firm at a Sept. 16 meeting.
The search is being conducted in the aftermath of the July 24 resignation of Town Manager Chris Layton following his July 15 arrest for two counts of assault on his assistant. The council then appointed Joe Heard as interim town manager pending the outcome of a search for a permanent town manager that could be concluded late this year or early in 2021.
During the public discussion of that search at the Aug. 26 meeting, there was no mention of Layton or his resignation, with Kingston referring to an “opening” that occurred for the town manager post.
The four search companies in the running for the Duck contract, along with some key elements of their proposals, were introduced by Kingston. They include Colin Baenzinger & Associates, headquartered in Dayton Beach, FL, which offered a 60 to 90-day time frame for conducting the search and quoted a fixed fee of $26,500. Another firm in the competition is Developmental Associates out of Chapel Hill, which indicated a 65-day process until final selection and quoted a basic fee of $18,500.
The Mercer Group, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, laid out a 120-day timeline for the selection process and a basic fee of $17,500. And Slavin Management Consultants of Norcross, GA, said their work would take 45-60 days to the final report and selection phase and quoted a basic cost of $15,580. (Several of the firms indicated those basic costs could increase during the process.)
After briefly discussing the contenders, the council decided it would set a meeting for Sept. 9 to allow each firm 30 minutes for a presentation and to take questions from council members. A decision to select a winner would then occur a week later.