VENTURA : City Manager Asked to Pick Search Firm

Rather than leaving the responsibility to one of their own, Ventura City Council members have asked their city manager to recommend the firm that will choose his successor.

After nearly an hour of bickering among themselves, council members concluded about midnight Monday that leaving the responsibility to a committee composed of three council members would not be "egalitarian." And having each council member check up on each possible search firm would be chaotic, they decided.

"I doubt it would be very efficient for seven council members to be calling all the references," Mayor Tom Buford said.

The council learned last week that John Baker, who has served as city manager since November, 1981, will leave in July to start a private consulting business.

Immediately after announcing his resignation, Baker contacted five executive search firms and asked them to have their proposals on his desk by 5 p.m. Friday. On Monday, council members tried to decide how to check references for each of the firms.

The only method that they could all agree on was to have Baker and his staff do the checking and then have Baker report back to the council Monday.

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