The Columbia Council has agreed to spend up to $35,000 to find a new Columbia Association president and has hired a Chicago-based executive search consultant to help.
The council chose the search firm DMG-MAXIMUS late Thursday at a meeting. It voted to spend $17,500 for consulting fees, up to $8,500 for the firm's expenses and up to $9,000 for the expenses of finalists asked to travel to Columbia for interviews.
DMG-MAXIMUS' headquarters are in Tallahassee, Fla., but the consultant who will work with the Columbia Association is based in the company's Chicago office, said Councilman Kirk Halpin of Kings Contrivance, chairman of the council's executive search firm selection committee.
DMG-MAXIMUS is one of 11 search firms that responded to the Columbia Council's invitation to bid on the job. One of those bids was not complete. Halpin's committee reviewed the other 10 and selected three semifinalists, who made presentations at a committee meeting Monday. The meeting was closed to the public.
On Thursday, the council accepted the committee's recommendation to hire DMG-MAXIMUS. Halpin said that firm, founded in 1976, stood out because it had conducted searches for similar positions around the country, including the city manager for Alexandria, Va., and the vice president/general manager of the Woodlands, a planned community near Houston.
"They are by far the best choice based on their similar experience, their years in business and their wide network of offices and contacts," Halpin said.
The council will hold a work session Thursday to outline procedures for the search, such as how many resumes it wants to review, Halpin said. The council also will consider how to involve the public in the search, he said.
"My desire is to winnow the field to two or three and present them to the public at one or two sessions," Halpin said. Residents could then rank the finalists on "comment cards," he said.
At this week's meeting, the council might discuss the larger question of what kind of president it wants, Halpin said.
The council is seeking a replacement for former President Deborah O. McCarty, who resigned from the $130,000 job in May after 20 months. The president oversees a homeowners association that provides recreational facilities and services for 87,000 residents.
Halpin said he thinks the council will be able to hire a president by January.