Granite Quarry will talk to candidates for interim town manager

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

By Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen plans to interview at least three candidates for interim town manager next week.

The Granite Quarry board held a called meeting Friday morning to discuss its plan to fill the manager’s position with the pending departure of Phil Conrad, who has held the job for the past three years.

Last week, Conrad submitted his resignation effective Feb. 11. He offered to help the board or the interim manager beyond that date if needed.

At Friday’s meeting, Mayor Bill Feather and Town Clerk Tanya Word reported that three people are being considered for the interim position.

Feather said he knows two of the candidates and the third sent an application by email. Feather suggested to the aldermen that two board members at a time conduct interviews next week.

The board agreed to meet either next Friday or Jan. 28 to consider the candidates.

While the interim person is on board, the aldermen will start the process to find a permanent replacement for Conrad.

“The interim is just to get you through,” Conrad said Friday.

Feather guessed that the search for a town manager will take four to five months. Alderman Jim Costantino said July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, might be a good target date for hiring a new manager.

Meanwhile, the aldermen talked briefly about what to pay an interim manager and what they are looking for in a candidate.

“Budgeting background is going to be a priority in this case,” Feather said. “Right now, we’re in the middle of the budget cycle.”

As for the pay scale for an interim position, Alderman John Linker expressed some concern about an hourly rate because the costs could mount each week.

Conrad’s salary translates, for example, to $35.16 an hour. A dollar figure for the interim manager was not decided on.

On the search for a permanent manager, Alderman Kim Cress said he would like to see whether the town itself could take on the process, rather than pay an outside consultant for assistance.

The Centralina Council of Governments has offered to help with the search.

“I would estimate roughly $6,000 for us to complete this search process on your behalf,” COG project manager Bobby Williams said in correspondence with Feather and Linker, with whom he met earlier in the week.

An approximate salary discussed for a permanent town manager falls between $65,000 and $75,000 a year.

Williams noted Spencer recently hired a new town manager for $65,000 a year, but he cautioned that some salary examples he has given “don’t factor in other aspects of contracts like vehicle allowances and an additional retirement contributions.”

Williams said setting aside 90 days for a search “is a good estimate for what it will take to get a new manager.”

Both Feather and Word spoke about the possibility of getting outside assistance with the search because of duties the town staff already has, besides preparing for an upcoming retreat and bringing the interim manager up to speed.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.