Council broadens search for manager

A week after about a dozen residents pressed the City Council to go outside City Hall in their quest to replace outgoing City Manager Jim Starbird, an executive recruiting firm has been hired to conduct the search.

The City Council on Tuesday agreed to spend $25,000 plus expenses to have Beverly Hills-based Roberts Consulting Group search for candidates. The firm has recruited for executive level positions in Glendale in the past.

Starbird plans to retire in December, giving the City Council less than six months to bring someone in before the top executive position is vacated.

The council had been meeting in closed-door sessions to discuss their options for replacing Starbird, who has been at the helm for nearly 14 years.

Proponents of including outside candidates in the applicant pool have contended that Glendale, the third largest city in Los Angeles County, could benefit from a fresh perspective instead of promoting from within.

Whoever fills the position will have to contend with the ongoing impacts of the recession on sales-tax revenues for the city, which has had to close multi-million dollar budget deficits several years in a row.

The rising cost of employee pensions has also become a major burden on the city, prompting city officials to seek union concessions as they work to reign in expenditures.

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