After seven firms applied for the job and four were named finalists, the City Council decided this week to contract with CPS HR Consulting to identify candidates to become the municipal government’s next top executive.
This search for a new city manager will be led by Frank Rojas, the firm’s executive recruiter, through a $25,000 contract with Sacramento-based CPS HR. Council members picked Rojas, who is based in the Los Angeles area, in part because of his familiarity with Glendale and the region.
“He knows the city,” Councilman Dan Brotman said. “We talk about not wanting to have a lot of time wasted in the process. He can get up to speed immediately, and he had a lot of specifics” in his proposal.
Rojas is tasked with identifying the replacement for Yasmin Beers, whose homegrown career ended in October when she retired after 33 years of serving Glendale, the last two as city manager. Rojas and CPS HR did not recruit her per se, but they did recommend hiring her in 2018 when the city also contracted with them for that search.
In his pitch to the council this week via Zoom, Rojas kept it simple. He pledged to start by pulling up his cellphone contact list and making calls to people with whom he’s built relationships for three decades. In separating himself from his competitors, he said it wasn’t just about identifying the best candidate.
“What I try to do is find you the best person that’s available for the position,” Rojas said. “I started recruiting well before there was the internet, so my methodology has always been picking up the phone and calling people: ‘Are you interested in this position? This is what we’re doing, who do you know that would be a good fit for this position? Where would you find these people?’ That kind of strategy, I think, will give us the best [results].”
CPS HR is presently recruiting city managers for two other municipalities and has placed 25 managers in the past five years. As part of the contract, the firm will conduct a new recruitment for free if the ultimate candidate leaves the city within the first year. Rojas will conduct up to three site visits as part of this deal.
The council voted 4-1 to go with CPS HR, with Councilwoman Paula Devine opposing because she wanted new blood for the search this time. CPS HR edged out La Palma-based Alliance Resource Consulting, Los Gatos-based Avery Associates and Roseville-based Peckham & McKenney.
Councilman Ara Najarian, in discussing the firms, suggested that the council likely wouldn’t go wrong with any of the options.
“In the end, let’s all keep it in perspective that we’re going to be picking the city manager,” he said. “These are folks who are going to be serving them to us. I don’t think any city manager candidate of any quality is going to go unnoticed in this search.”
There also is an optional $3,500 expense for CPS HR to produce a recruitment video for use during its process. The contract will be funded by the salary savings for the vacant permanent position. Assistant City Manager Roubik Golanian has served as interim city manager since Beers’ departure.
The council made its decision despite public comments by a handful of callers urging the council to move forward with Golanian, with some suggesting that using a recruiting firm was insulting in view of Golanian’s 20 years of employment with the city.
Neither Golanian nor the council addressed these remarks.