The city commission voted Tuesday to retain the services of a search firm as they seek a replacement for retiring city manager Bob Myers.

Myers announced last month his intention to retire after more than three decades of working for the city, first as legal counsel followed by the position of city manager. His career will come to an end in January.

City staff worked with 30 prospective firms for proposals. Several declined, and others were eliminated by staff. Ten provided full proposals seeking to begin the search. Those proposals were evaluated by staff. At the direction of the commission, three were selected for consideration.

On Tuesday, city staff recommended a firm called Strategic Government Resources.

“They have history with the city of Newton and have done work sessions with (the city commission),” said Kelly McElroy, assistant city manager.

The last time the group met with the commission was 2017. The Keller, Texas-based company has provided staff training and resources on servant leadership, the prevailing culture and philosophy in the city organization, and has worked with the city commission in work sessions on strategic planning and leadership development.

Recruitment is expected to take three to four months. Costs for recruitment services are expected to be between $30,000 and $50,000. SGR gave a baseline of $26,500 in its proposal. Additional costs for this project will include the associated travel for finalist candidates, not included in the proposal costs for any of the firms.

“There were things I found compelling in SGR's proposal that are optional services that I think are compelling,” said commissioner Barth Hague. “I think we should consider some of those things. I don't want to be frivolous with this process, but we should not be cheap with it, either."

Hague said he looked at all three proposals before Tuesday's meeting. He said the commission needs to look closely at the position profile — defining what kind of person is needed for the city manager's position.

The selected firm will work with the commission, and several members of the community to define what the city wants and needs in the person ultimately hired. The firm will also work with recruitment materials used to try and attract strong candidates that fit the criteria defined by the community.

The firm will bring a group of finalists to the city for evaluation and interviews.

Strategic Government Resources was selected, by a unanimous vote of the commission, to be the search firm to recruit a new city manager.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a proclamation declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.

• Approved a proclamation celebrating the 150th anniversary of P.E.O.

• Approved an ordinance to establish a telecom franchise agreement with IdeaTek.

• Accepted the recommendation of the planning commission and approve the final plat of the NDV Addition, a mixed-use development by Occidental Management on S. Kansas Avenue.

• Approved Strategic Government Resources as a city manager executive recruitment firm.

• Approved the sale of property at 307 E. Sixth to a neighboring property owner for $50 plus all closing costs. The city reserved an easement for utilities and possible future bicycle/walking path.

• Received an update from city staff on a project to create a “community landing page” on the internet.

• Designated Rod Kreie, Kathy Valentine, Leroy Koehn and Barth Hague as voting delegates for the Kansas League of Municipalities meeting. Bob Myers was named an alternate.