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Bemidji city manager search process begins

Former Bemidji City Manager David Minke resigned May 1 to take a position in Castle Rock, Colo. A week later, the Bemidji City Council voted unanimously to hire the Hopkins, Minn.-based Brimeyer Group Inc. Executive Search Consultants to conduct the search process.

On Thursday, James Brimeyer, president of the hiring group, met with members of the Bemidji community to develop an understanding of qualities and characteristics the city needs in a manager and to get a sense of the culture of the community. His meetings will continue today.

The groups Brimeyer is discussing needs with include members of the media, City Council, city department heads, Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, VisitBemidji, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Joint Economic Development Commission, Bemidji School District, Bemidji Planning Commission, Joint Planning Commission and Downtown Development Authority.

Brimeyer comes from a background of city management -- 20 years in St. Louis Park, Minn., and Worthington, Ohio -- and eight years as an elected official in St. Louis Park. He said he has worked as an executive search consultant for 18 years.

He said choosing a city manager who is a good fit for a city is a mixture of science and art. The science side is checking out qualifications and the experience of a candidate. The art part is "gut feeling," Brimeyer said.

The salary range Bemidji is currently offering for a city manager is about $85,000, Brimeyer said. But he added that salaries for city managers in comparable cities are in the $90,000 range.

The timeline for selecting a new city manager moves through the summer to a starting date in October. Brimeyer will be gathering information for a profile of the city through the end of May. At the June 5 City Council meeting, he will present the profile for approval. The profile is designed to give potential city manager candidates an impression of Bemidji.

Candidate recruitment is scheduled to continue through July 14, with a July 17 deadline for applications. Candidate screening will run through Aug. 11, with a progress report and selection of finalists set for the Aug. 21 City Council meeting. Brimeyer will conduct credential and reference checks through Sept. 6, with interviews of the finalists Sept. 15 and 16. The finalist interviews are open meetings.