Committee supports contracts for lobbyist, recruiting firm

A committee is recommending the Minot City Council renew a contract with the city’s legislative lobbyist and support the hiring of a recruitment firm to find a new city manager.

The council’s Finance and Improvements Committee voted Tuesday to renew a contract with a payment increase for Mandan attorney Shane Goettle, who would look out for the city’s interests during the 2015 legislative session and interim. The cost would increase from the current $3,500 a month to $3,700 a month during the interim and from $7,500 a month to $7,700 a month during the four months of the session.

Acting city manager Cindy Hemphill told the committee that having someone to watch for critical legislation and lobby on the city’s behalf has been valuable.

“Mr. Goettle’s help, in my opinion, has been very instrumental in helping the city gain additional funds, especially from oil impact,” she said. She added that his role could be more important in the 2015 session with the retirement of an experienced executive director at the North Dakota League of Cities. Minot relies on the league as well as its lobbyist to monitor legislation impacting cities.

Goettle’s role includes coordinating and providing committee testimony when a Minot official is unavailable, maintaining legislative and other government contacts, maintaining regular contact with the City of Minot and tracking and monitoring interim initiatives, studies, committees and bills of interest to Minot.

The new contract would run from June 1, 2014, to May 31, 2016.

The finance committee is recommending the council ratify Mayor Curt Zimbelman’s signature on a contract with Prothman Company to recruit a city manager to replace David Waind, who retired March 28.

A search committee was unable to present a candidate to the council after narrowing a list of 36 applicants to three. From the three, the committee selected Hemphill, city finance director, who declined the position.

The recruitment of a city manager is expected to take 10 to 14 weeks. Prothman’s fee is $22,500 plus expenses estimated at $11,500 for consultant travel, candidate travel, advertisement and recruitment materials and fees. Funds for the fee and expenses will come from salary and benefit savings resulting from the vacancy in the city manager position.