The search for Forest Park's next village administrator has been extended. On Feb. 22 the village council will vote on a possible recommendation from the search committee to hire an outside firm to help with recruitment.

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The village administrator search will take longer than originally anticipated. Although the search committee said they would receive resumes only until Feb. 12, the group met on Feb. 11 and decided to extend the deadline. They also discussed the possibility of hiring a search firm and will revisit the topic at a meeting this week.

Despite having at least three resumes from what they consider strong candidates, the committee decided they were overall not satisfied that they had cast a wide enough net and brought in enough potential applicants.

The search committee is comprised of village commissioners Jessica Voogd and Joe Byrnes, Village Clerk and human resources director Vanessa Moritz, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development cochair Bridget Lane. Mayor Rory Hoskins also serves on the committee but was absent for the Feb. 11 meeting due to feeling ill after a COVID-19 vaccine and another conflicting meeting.

The committee said that extending the deadline without stepping up recruitment efforts would be pointless, so they discussed whether hiring an outside agency to assist in headhunting was a good idea, and if so, what amount the village would spend.

Among possibilities that will be considered by the committee are different packages offered by GovHRUSA, a well-known business that provides consulting and executive recruitment for governmental agencies.

According to Moritz, the limited scope service offered through GovHRUSA, which costs $2,700, includes developing the position announcement and making extensive use of social media and traditional outreach methods to recruit candidates.

A $7,500 package from GovHRUSA would include professional outreach plus preparation of an assessment matrix to compare candidates and submission of top tier candidates to the village, Moritz said.

Two more packages, priced at $17,000 and $20,000, are also available.

Voogd suggested that rather than add services little by little, the committee should take a hard look at whether the village could benefit from the bigger packages offered by search firms, even though they’re more expensive.

“Do we foresee possibly wanting those additional services within those [larger] packages?” Voogd asked during the meeting. “Do we need to evaluate some of the larger packages and what they offer? I would just hate to be ala carte-ing ourselves all the way up to or past the $9,000 package or something like that.”

Byrnes agreed. “I think if we have to spend money for it, we’re going to have to spend money for it. I see no other way around it.”

Commissioner Dan Novak, who is not part of the search committee, said from the beginning of discussions about a replacement for Tim Gillian that he supported hiring a search firm.

“You get what you pay for,” Novak said during a Jan. 11 village council meeting in regard to using a headhunter. “And in turn, I think that this top level, top executive municipal position, you know, we need professionals to assist us for the best interests of Forest Park.”

“We tried to try to do something where we could save some money,” Byrnes said during the Feb. 11 committee meeting. “And I think we did give it our best shot. But I don’t think we hit the people we thought we were going to hit by some of the resumes that I saw.”

Moritz said she would email the different packages from different agencies to the committee and other council members. The committee will meet this week to come up with a recommendation that will be voted on by the village council at the Feb. 22 meeting.

In a Feb. 16 interview, Hoskins said, “I’m confident we’ll have a qualified replacement for Tim [Gillian], but the process needs to work itself out.” He said the village already has a few good candidates, and with help from an outside agency, which the committee is leaning toward, there will be even more choices.