INDIAN TRAIL – The search firm charged with recruiting candidates to become the next town manager of Indian Trail has assured town leaders they will have a strong candidate pool.
The Indian Trail Town Council selected The Mercer Group to conduct the town manager search during its May 12 meeting. Ellis Hankins, vice president of the firm, has since had conversations individually with the mayor, council members and senior members of town staff about their expectations for the new manager.
“I really believe that this position will be viewed by potential candidates as attractive and desirable,” Hankins told the council May 21. “Indian Trail has not enjoyed great management stability in recent years. Some managers who will consider applying will be mindful of that.”
Since Joe Fivas resigned as town manager following the 2015 election, the council has promoted two town engineers to take on the role. The council fired the first one and put the second one on administrative leave before he left.
Given Indian Trail’s rocky history with town managers, Mayor Pro Tem Marcus McIntyre asked Hankins if bringing on a professional search firm would enable them to receive interest from suitable and qualified candidates.
After conversations with the town council and staff, Hankins believes the Indian Trail vacancy is a “desirable job where a good manager can come and make a meaningful contribution and work well cooperatively with the council.”
“Even in these difficult times and even with the some of the difficulties in the past in Indian Trail with town managers, I think we will be able to attract some well qualified managers for the council’s consideration,” Hankins said.
The Mercer Group has found key staff for Charlotte, Asheville, Clinton, Emerald Isle, Manteo and Oxford, as well as Cumberland, Durham, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.
The search for a town manager for Southern Shores recently concluded after town leaders interviewed candidates via Zoom.
Hankins expects the process for Indian Trail to extend to the end of August with the new town manager starting work in September. He hopes to have a list of semifinalists by mid-July.
In the meantime, he’ll prepare a recruitment brochure describing the town and desired characteristics of the manager. He’ll spend a lot of time talking with candidates and judging their qualifications based on the town’s criteria.
Hankins described the town manager as the chief executive officer who operates the government and oversees the daily delivery of services to citizens based on the policies and priorities set by elected officials.
He hopes to attract a group of well-qualified candidates at different stages of their careers.
“I put a lot of value on personal and professional maturity,” Hankins said. “That’s what I want to hear before I recommend any of those people to you for your consideration.”
McIntyre asked Hankins what advice he’d give to town leaders about making the best decision. Hankins recommended careful deliberations, confidentiality and open-mindedness.
“It’s clear to me, based on my discussion with you all this morning, council is very well focused on this search, you all intend to devote the time it will take to make a sound decision and to get this right at the end of the process,” he said.