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City set to hire manager

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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City leaders are getting ready to hire a new city manager at a crucial time. “We’ve probably had the worst economy in decades with a massive overhaul of our city infrastructure,” said Rocklin Mayor Scott Yuill. “Hiring a new city manager is the most significant event the city will go through next year.” Current City Manager Carlos Urrutia officially retired today, after 25 years on the job. But he’s staying on for one more year at reduced hours and benefits to help the city get through the recession and help city council hire his replacement. “I am trying to transition to retirement,” Urrutia said. “I want the citizens to know there is not going to be any lesser level of service because we are working reduced hours.” Urrutia, Assistant City Manager Terry Richardson, Police Chief Mark Siemens and two other managers are all under similar employment contracts to save the city more than $600,000 next year, according to Urrutia. Yuill said while those openings in key areas create a brain drain of experience in the city, it will be an opportunity and recruiting point for the new city manager. “You want to leave that up to the new city manager and create an opportunity for him or her to build their own team. So they’ll all work well together,” Yuill said. The mayor and Councilman Brett Storey just formed a new recruitment committee to start the process. “Hiring a city manager is not easy,” Yuill said. “You are not going to get a city manager or assistant city manager to come forward and admit publicly they are looking for a change. We have a consulting firm to facilitate that.” According to city officials, Rocklin is expected to pay the consulting firm up to $35,000 for hiring recommendations. “You really need a professional organization, which specializes in that,” Storey said. Storey said he will present the plan to council next month for approval and the consulting firm will be hired in the spring with candidates filtered by Urrutia. “It is not going to be a rookie,” Urrutia said. “Hopefully someone who has 15 years left in their career and has a lot of experience in economic development.” The new manager will be coming at a time when the city has seen unprecedented declines in tax revenues due to the economy, furloughs and the city reorganizing and cutting staff. “I think it’s very critical for us to find an aggressive, business-thinking city manager,” Storey said. “It is going to take a leader who is able to work with businesses, help them get in and keep them here.” While the recession may create an atmosphere where there is a lower salary expectation for the top job, Storey said they’ll focus on trying to get the best person possible. “Sometimes you get what you pay for,” Storey said. According to payscale.com, the average city manager with 15 years experience managing the current number of Rocklin employees is expected to make between $95,000 — $144,000 a year. Right now, Urrutia said he makes more than $240,000 a year. “Hopefully we will get someone less expensive because Carlos (Urrutia) is at the pinnacle of his career. By virtue of that, it will be less than he makes,” Storey said. The city of Roseville is also looking for a new city manager.