City Manager – Keene, New Hampshire
The City Manager of Keene will have the opportunity to serve one of the country’s most distinctive destinations. Keene enjoys the presence of three colleges, neighborhoods sustaining a variety of lifestyles, a vibrant downtown, unique businesses, excellent schools, and a strong financial position. The City has a history of an effective government, stability in leadership, engaged citizenry, and exceptional services.
The City Council appoints the City Manager to serve as the chief executive officer of the City. Under the Council/Manager form of government adopted by Keene, the City Council establishes policies for operations within the City, and it is the City Manager’s responsibility to ensure these policies are carried out. In general, the position supervises all property and business affairs of the City, develops the proposed operating and capital improvements budgets, and oversees expenditure of all funds appropriated for City purposes. The City Manager is responsible for overseeing all City staff and appointing all department directors except the Library Director who is hired by the Library Board of Trustees. The City Attorney and City Clerk are City Council appointees.
The City Manager has three Assistant City Managers who also function as department directors – Assistant City Manager/Administrative Services (Assessment, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology), Assistant City Manager/Municipal Development Services (Airport, Health and Code Enforcement, Planning, Public Works), and Assistant City Manager/Community Services (Fire, Human Services, Library, Parks, Recreation and Facilities, Police, Youth Services). The City has a workforce of 285 regular full and part time employees with approximately 195 employees represented by six unions – including Keene Police Officers Association, Keene Police Supervisors, Keene Firefighters, Keene Fire Supervisors, Keene City Employees, and AFSCME-Public Works.
The Governing Body
The City has a 15-member Council and a Mayor. Two Councilors represent each of the five wards and five Councilors serve at-large, representing the entire City. The Mayor serves as Chairman and is the official head of the City for ceremonial purposes. Each Councilor is assigned to one of three Council Standing Committees which are charged with hearing various issues and providing recommendations to the full Council for their consideration. The City engages the community through many boards, commissions, and standing, ad hoc, and special committees.
The City Council adopts annually an operating budget and a re-prioritized six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). For FY17, adopted operating appropriations totaled $63,285,740 with a General Fund budget of $31,273,255 net capital and debt service, which is an increase of approximately 1.67% from the FY 2016 adopted budget. The City also has allocated $12,396,696 in 2017 for the first year of the CIP for capital expenditures. The City enjoys an AA bond rating by Standard & Poor’s rating agency.
- The City is committed to planning for its future as is illustrated through the adoption of the 2010 Comprehensive Master Plan and Community Vision. To achieve its vision, it has been participating in numerous public/private partnerships and community involvement on the following initiatives.
- Development of a new courthouse in downtown as an important economic generator.
- Expansion of the bike and pedestrian trails network that provides recreation and social opportunities, as well as important transportation alternatives.
- Construction of the Keene ICE community ice arena.
- Redevelopment of downtown “railroad land” and other Brownfield sites using a variety of creative financing tools including state and federal grants.
- Keene Public Library’s “Next Chapter” project to renovate the Library and Library Annex enhancing services to the community.
The position requires a bachelor’s degree and ten years’ progressively responsible experience in a local government, including supervision and executive level management (manager/administrator, assistant manager/administrator, or key department director) with community engagement, redevelopment, and economic development experience. Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in public administration or a closely related field, experience growing the tax base, effective business and community engagement, strong intergovernmental and labor relations, and a track record of public-private partnerships to achieve community goals. An ICMA-Credentialed Manager designation and experience in a college or university community are also preferred.
Residency is not required upon appointment to the position, but residency within the City shall be required within six months of the commencement of employment.
The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate for Keene’s next City Manager will be an ethical, experienced, local government management professional who is passionate about leading a collaborative, engaged staff team working toward common goals with the City Council and the community. He or she will be an effective listener and communicator comfortable speaking with all audiences and using a variety of tools to reach residents and businesses. The City Manager will be an approachable leader, with a track record of community engagement, and skilled at building partnerships with government, educational, private, and nonprofit organizations. The ideal candidate will be a strong leader who can balance conflicting interests and priorities and build consensus with the Council and the community. He or she will be a collaborative team leader, comfortable working alongside staff to ensure the long-term success of the City. The next City Manager will be a visionary who can add fresh approaches to enhance Keene’s vision for the future, help streamline current processes, and develop a clear path for implementation of top priorities. The ideal candidate will fit into a culture that is caring, progressive, fiscally conservative, and focused on a sustainable future. Keene’s next City Manager will have proven economic development experience in attracting new businesses, growing and supporting existing businesses, working in partnership with K-12 and higher education institutions, as well as nonprofits, and marketing the community’s distinct attributes. The ideal candidate will be energetic, personally invested in Keene, and active and visible in the community.
Keene, with 37.6 square miles, is located at the heart of New England in the southwest corner of New Hampshire. It is the hub of employment, business, industry, culture, recreation, higher education, healthcare, social service, and retail activity for the Monadnock Region. While its residential population is 23,500, its estimated daytime population increases significantly with visitors coming to Keene to work, shop, eat, learn, and play.
The City is within a one- to three-hour drive from most major New England cities including Concord, NH; Boston, MA; Portland, ME; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; and Burlington, VT. Keene is connected to other major cities via a well-maintained network of state routes and is served by the Dillant Hopkins Airport, a general aviation airport that serves corporate and commercial needs. The City is also located 30 minutes from Amtrak’s Vermonter rail line and one hour from the Manchester Boston Regional Airport.
Keene is home to Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, a well-respected hospital and large area employer. Jobs in the health care and social assistance sector constitute 18.4% of all jobs in the City, making it the largest employment sector. The City’s other top employers are Markem Imaje Corporation, Timken Super Precision, Main Street America Insurance Group, Liberty Mutual/Peerless Insurance, Smiths Medical, Keene State College, SAU 29 School District, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Janos Technology, and the City of Keene.
The City boasts a variety of schools within its limits. The local and regional public schools consist of four elementary schools, a pre-school, a middle school, a high school, a career center, and a continuing education program. Several private schools include the Monadnock Waldorf School (nursery through high school), the Monadnock Community Connections School, Trinity Lutheran School, and St. Joseph’s Regional School. Higher education institutions include the Keene State College, Antioch University New England, and River Valley Community College.
From the eclectic mix of stores, boutiques, and restaurants to the uniquely preserved landmarks, downtown festivals and events, and two live theaters, there is never a shortage of things to do or see. Keene has great public spaces and robust recreation assets. Residents and visitors can enjoy its walkable historic downtown, 27 miles of trails, over 2100 acres of open space, and 16 city parks. The community also places a high value on environmental sustainability, health, wellness, and locally sourced food and products.
The City of Keene has been recognized time and again as a great place in which to live, work, learn, and play. It is one of the “10 Great Places to Raise a Family,” according to Parenting Magazine’s tenth anniversary issue. Keene has earned a number of honors including:
- Number 7 in “America’s Ten Fittest Small Towns” by The Active Times in 2015.
- “Top Ten Most Beautiful Towns in New Hampshire” from TheCultureTrip.com in 2015.
- “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation from the League of American Bicyclists in 2015.
- “Honor Award” in 2014 for the former railroad land development in downtown from Plan New Hampshire as an example of compact, mixed-use development.
- “Engineering Excellence Award” in 2013 for the Keene Micro-Turbine Project, an engineering project that epitomizes quality, innovation, value and client satisfaction, from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
- “Top Ten Great Public Spaces” in 2009 for Central Square from the American Planning Association.
- Tied for tenth as “Best Small City in the East” with ratings that include climate, diversions, economics, education, health care, housing, safety, and transportation, in The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities by Kevin Heubusch.
- Recognized by the White House as a “Preserve America” community that protects and celebrates its heritage, uses it historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourages people to experience and appreciate local historical resources through education and heritage tourism programs.
Keene has a reputation for using new and creative approaches to solving community issues. From early decisions on placement of the community meeting house and planting elm trees in Central Square to addressing contemporary issues like climate change and sustainability, the community continues to be recognized within the region, state, nation, and throughout the world for its innovative, practical solutions.
The 21st century has brought a strong movement in Keene for sustainability, leading the City to reduce carbon emissions, maintain a healthy community, and foster the return of local agriculture.
The expected salary range is $140,000-155,000, with an excellent benefit package.
How to Apply
Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at thenovakconsultinggroup.com/jobs and will be kept confidential. Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that has a cover letter, resume with salary history, and a list of 3-5 professional references. Open until filled with first review of applications April 10, 2017.
Questions should be directed to Catherine Tuck Parrish at email@example.com or 513-221-0500.