Expenses with Fort Smith’s search to fill three key jobs moves past $40,000

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 106 views 

Fort Smith administration has shed additional light on the status of job search costs for three of the city’s top positions, with those expenses already beyond $40,000.

In a recent email from Lindsey Kaelin, human resources coordinator with the city, the costs were revealed to exceed the $20,000 reported last week by Talk Business & Politics.

“What you have is the standard component search services agreement (contract) from SGR (Strategic Government Resources),” Kaelin said. “It is an enabling agreement, in that it lists all available services and we decide which ones we would like to utilize.”

Kaelin said the city has chosen a $6,000 social media and marketing package for each of the three positions as well as application management and initial screening services in the amount of $4,500 for each position. Altogether, costs for those two line items will be $31,500. From there, the city will have SGR develop questionnaires ($250 per candidate) and background checks ($300 per candidate) for finalists, who have yet to be announced. Emails exchanged between the city and SGR showed an additional $4,200 in advertising costs for human resources director, $3,700 for chief of police, and $4,700 for utilities director – $12,600 altogether.

During the submissions period which began in late May and ended on July 22, SGR collected packages from 82 applicants for the positions of human resources director (39), chief of police (33) and utilities director (10). Bios have not been released on the candidates yet as some will not make it to onsite committee interviews.

City Administrator Carl Geffken signed the contract with SGR on May 23 and said last week he was in the process of organizing interview committees for the three positions and that Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman would help narrow down the lengthy list of applicants.

Discussing the decision to hire SGR for the job search, Geffken said in comments to Talk Business & Politics that he authorized “to cast as wide a ‘net’ as possible.”

“If the City Administrator position had not been posted on the ICMA website, I would not have known about it. The same can be said for the three positions we are hiring. These positions are critical to the ongoing success and future growth of the city and because of that, Fort Smith deserves to find the best candidate for each of the positions,” Geffken said.

A final total for the SGR contract will be made once the final number of applicants are named for the three positions. Human resources director has been open since October of last year while chief of police was vacated with former Chief Kevin Lindsey’s resignation in March. Former Utilities Director Steve Parke retired April 1.

The two highest profile positions – police and utilities – are being handled by interim chief, Maj. Dean Pitts, and temporary director Bob Roddy of Burns & McDonnell, respectively. Kaelin has been the primary point of contact in HR. Geffken said he intends to have all three positions filled by early October.