Experience, transparency favored in first round of surveys

Search firm helping city find new manager

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia residents want a city manager with experience and good communication skills, according to the first round of interviews done by the search firm hired by city government.

CPS HR Consulting presented the initial results of its three-day information gathering trip to Columbia on Thursday afternoon. The company said it will prepare a draft brochure to send to potential city manager candidates and a survey to send to city residents.

The information will help CPS HR find the right person to replace Mike Matthes as Columbia city manager. Matthes left in November amid criticism from the public and elected officials over his handling of changes to the police department's community-oriented policing plan.

CPS HR recruiters Pam Derby and Andrew Nelson said they met with nearly 30 groups from Monday to Wednesday, including city department heads and civic groups. The company also held two open town hall meetings to gather feedback.

A word cloud Nelson put together showed that "experience" and "transparency" came up the most in these meetings. Nelson said city workers often talked about having a city manager that communicated well among the departments they help manage. 

Derby told ABC 17 News that the company will market the job in several different government trade publications. 

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