The Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission decided the first step in finding a new executive director will be to have an updated job description. Claude Legris, who announced his retirement last month, will complete his last day in the executive director position Friday.
The commission met Tuesday (July 7) to get a feel for how the search for Legris’ replacement would go. Rick Lolley, director of human resources for the City of Fort Smith, told the commission that in the past the city has used the search firm, Strategic Government Resources (SGR), to help fill department head positions within the city.
The executive director of the A&P is not a city position, but rather an employee of the A&P Commission, but the person in the position will work closely with the city, said Commissioner and City Director Robyn Dawson.
Because the price tag can get high fast with a search firm, the commission discussed seeking input from the Arkansas Hospitality Association and executive directors from other A&P Commissions across the state before making a decision on a search firm or a headhunter.
SGR charges $9,950 for creating a brochure on the advertised position and advertising or getting the brochure out to the public, Lolley said. Costs can add up quickly after that depending on the number of candidates the commission decides to look at more closely. To have a questionnaire candidates must complete and then have those answers evaluated is $250 per candidate. Online interviews are another $250 per candidate.
Headhunter firms are less expensive and are only paid if their candidate is chosen for the position, Lolley said. For city department heads, the city used SRG to help find candidates. Then the city conducted phone interviews of a narrowed field and brought in a small number for interviews in front of two panels, Lolley said.
The commission’s first task is to update the executive director job description, which has not been updated since before Legris was hired in 2000, Lolley said.
Fort Smith Mayor George McGill, who chairs the commission, said Legris was working on an updated job description along with duties and responsibilities. He said the commission would also need to look at things like required years of experience, education and qualifications in order to complete the job description. McGill said the search for a new candidate could take four to five months.
The commission also noted that someone would need to be replace Legris as an interim executive director until a replacement could be found, but no motion was made for anyone to fill that slot. McGill said they could think about choices and conduct interviews at a later date.
Commissioner Storm Nolan said the questions the commission needs to answer soon are:
• Who will be in charge once Legris leaves Friday?
• How much will that person be paid?
• What process will be used to come up with a job description for the executive director?
• Do we look at outside industry experts for help?
• How do we decide which search firm or headhunter to use?
None of those questions were decided Tuesday.