How were the finalists for the City Manager position chosen? Updated March 12, 2019.

Release Date: March 11, 2019

The process that resulted in the six finalists for the City Manager position involved a lot of people and a lot of steps. Here’s a brief timeline of the events:

  • On August 23, 2018, the Sammamish City Council approved a motion to form a three-person council group (a Council Subcommittee) to work with staff and advise the full Council on what process to use to conduct a search for a new City Manager.


  • On September 11, 2018, the City Council reviewed and approved the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to find an executive search firm to provide city manager recruitment services. Staff subsequently released the RFP and received six proposals in response.


  • On October 2, 2018, the Council appointed a subcommittee composed of Deputy Mayor Moran and Councilmembers Ross and Stuart to review the six proposals received. The subcommittee members and staff individually reviewed each proposal and met to discuss scoring. All reviewers had the same firms among their top three, which were (in no particular order):
    • Colin Baezinger & Associates;
    • The Novak Consulting Group; and
    • Strategic Government Resources


  • On October 25, the subcommittee and staff, with Councilmember Ross absent, interviewed the top three firms. Two firms stood out to the interview panel - Colin Baenziger & Associates and The Novak Consulting Group. Based on the majority recommendation, staff prepared a contract with Colin Baenziger & Associates for the Council's consideration.


  • On November 6, 2018, Council authorized the Interim City Manager to enter into contract with Colin Baenziger and Associates for City Manager recruitment services. Motion carried unanimously 7-0. You can see a copy of the contract and scope of work in the Council Agenda for Nov. 6.


  • The City’s contract with Colin Baenziger and Associates went into effect on November 7, 2018.


  • Colin Baenziger and Associates posted the recruitment on the job boards of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). In addition, they conducted targeted outreach to City Managers in Washington and Oregon, and sent an email to announce the recruitment to more than 13,000 professionals on their listserv. The application closing date was January 25, 2019.


  • On February 4, 2019, Colin Baenziger and Associates sent a memo to City Council letting them know that they had received materials from 45 applicants representing 21 states, including one application from Canada. About 28% (13 in all) were Washington residents.  They also noted that they “do not collect statistics on demographics, but based on what I can see so far, we have some diversity but not a great deal.  This situation reflects the profession as a whole, however.”
    • Note: A recent article in Governing magazine notes that “At the end of 2018, only 17.9 percent of chief administrative officers (CAOs) were women, according to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).”


  • As per their scope of work, Colin Baenziger and Associates evaluated the candidates using their resumes and screening interviews conducted by phone. Top candidates were then selected based on their experience, achievements, longevity in their positions, local experience, and specialized experience. Colin Baenziger and Associates did not consider assistant city and county managers who have never served as the manager.


  • On February 26, 2019, Colin Baenziger and Associates forwarded seven finalist applications to the City; these were sent to the City Council the same day.


  • On March 4, 2019, Council selected five candidates to move forward. One candidate withdrew shortly thereafter, due to a scheduling conflict.


  • On March 5, 2019, Council then decided to interview all six of the candidates in the search for a new City Manager.


  • The public is invited to meet the finalists at a reception on Friday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.


  • The public is also welcome to attend the Council’s panel interviews of the candidates on March 17; the interviews begin at 3 p.m. and will b held at City Hall.