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City Manager
Meriden, Connecticut

 

The Position

Poised for transformational change, the City of Meriden is seeking a person with strong leadership skills eager to accept a significant public services challenge. The next City Manager will work together with a dedicated City staff and an engaged community to execute a major reinvestment it its city center and overall quality of life.

The City Manager is appointed by and is responsible to the City Council. The City Manager is the chief executive officer of the City and is responsible for the supervision and administration of all departments. The Manager prepares and submits an annual budget to the Council and is responsible for the successful execution of the budget; prepares and administers the City’s capital improvement plan; advises the Council on the financial condition and service needs of the City and recommends policies necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the community, and for the efficient operation of municipal services.

The City Manager directly supervises twelve departments: finance, personnel, MIS, development and enforcement, emergency communications, police, fire, library, health and human services, public works, public utilities, and parks/recreation/public buildings. In addition, the Manager has oversight over parking, transit, aviation and emergency planning operations, and the City Manager’s office manages citizen inquiry services, economic development, and grants administration.

Meriden’s proposed FY 2016-2017 general fund budget is $191,660,650. Water, sewer, and golf enterprise funds paid through user fees total $22,978,693 and the City receives and administers numerous federal and state grants.  The City has formally adopted financial policies and has received four bond rating upgrades in the past decade, with recognition by S&P for strong financial management.

Form of Government

The City has operated under the Council/Manager form of government since 1979. Meriden’s City Council consists of twelve elected officials who exercise the legislative and fiscal authority of the City and enact, amend, and repeal ordinances that are consistent with the Connecticut General Statutes and the City Charter. The City Council appoints the City Manager. City Council members are elected for four-year terms, with eight elected from four district Council areas and four elected at-large, with one-half the membership elected every two years. Most legislation is referred to an appropriate standing committee for its review and recommendation prior to final approval. The Council also acts as the City zoning authority.

The Mayor is elected for a two-year term and is the chief elected and ceremonial officer of the City. The Mayor recommends appointments to boards and commissions subject to Council approval, has veto authority over Council actions and a line item budget veto, but does not vote on Council matters except in the case of a tie. The Mayor does not vote on any matter related to the appointment, suspension or removal of the City Manager.

Requirements

Requirements include an undergraduate degree in public administration, business administration or closely related field combined with at least eight (8) years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal management. Preferred qualifications are a Master’s Degree in Public or Business Administration, ICMA Credentialed Manager status, and experience with development/redevelopment, economic development and housing, labor relations, public safety, and human and financial management. Preference will also be given to experienced city or town managers, or assistant managers from jurisdictions of comparable size and complexity. The Manager will be required to reside within the City of Meriden within one year of appointment.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate to be Meriden’s next City Manager will be a strong leader, dedicated to the highest ideals of ethics and professional management who is looking for a rare, but real opportunity to help bring about significant and sustainable beneficial change to a community through his or her public service.  The ideal candidate will be an exceptional communicator, an effective listener, approachable, and skilled in outreach to a variety of stakeholders in order to obtain feedback and advocate on major issues. The ideal City Manager will be politically neutral, have political savvy, and be able to work within a somewhat partisan environment and with multiple levels of government. The Manager will be fiscally prudent, have strong project management and negotiation skills, and be able to delegate effectively. This person will be able to assess the staffing levels and the skillsets needed to accomplish desired service levels, will provide clear expectations to department directors, and will hold them accountable. The ideal candidate will be flexible, while at the same time confident in his or her knowledge, and provide sound professional recommendations to the City Council. The ability to work in a diverse, but tight-knit community will be important for the next City Manager to be effective in accomplishing the City’s goals.

Community

Meriden, with an area of 24 square miles and population of 60,838, is centrally located in Connecticut at the intersections of Interstates I-91, I-691, and the Merritt Parkway (Route 15), midway between Hartford and New Haven, and less than two hours from New York City and Boston. Meriden is also served by Amtrak rail service, interstate and local bus service, and a local city-owned airport.

Meriden is home to 1,300 businesses employing over 25,000 people, 3,000 acres of park space, and a distinguished history. The City has a mix of historic buildings and neighborhoods, affordable housing, and more affluent residential developments. Its easy access to the highway system and other transportation options has made Meriden an ideal choice for new businesses. The City offers State and local Enterprise Zone tax benefits, information technology and manufacturing incentives, State energy retrofit and job creation assistance, and other State and city economic development incentives.

Once known as the Silver City, the decline in the silver manufacturing industry and related manufacturing caused significant disinvestment in the City center in the 1960’s. Over the past decade, the City has successfully planned, engineered, funded and begun a variety of efforts to transform its city center into a modern urban area that offers mixed used development in a pedestrian-friendly environment with public open space and access to public transit. Highlights include:

  • Creation of a $16 million 14-acre town green, to be completed in June, 2016, which also serves as a flood control project and is part of a city-wide $50 million flood control effort that is more than 50% completed;
  • Approval of form based Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zoning regulations encouraging high density, mixed use development in the city center and completion of a TOD master plan and market and financial studies, and an update of the City master plan incorporating the TOD objectives;
  • HUD approval for the demolition and disposition of an obsolescent 140 unit public housing project;
  • Selection as both a USDOE Promise Neighborhood grantee and a HUD Choice Neighborhood grantee and completion of an approved Choice Neighborhood plan;
  • Coordinated local planning efforts with the $467 million New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail project. Planned improvements for Meriden include a new rail station, a 270 space parking garage and additional surface parking, and bi-directional commuter rail service every 30 minutes with connections to New York, Boston, and Vermont, with service to commence in early 2017;
  • A successful RFP which resulted in designated developers for city-owned properties proposing expected investment exceeding $150 million for the development of approximately 600 residential units and 100,00 square feet of new commercial space within ½ mile of the new rail station;
  • Construction by a private developer of a 63 residential unit mixed use “transit oriented development” at 24 Colony Street, across from the new rail station, expected to be completed in November 2016;
  • Remediation of more than 36 acres of brownfields with State and federal funds;
  • Selection as the recipient of approximately $4 million in State and federal funding for a “complete streets” rework of the city center roadways.

The City features more than 3,000 acres of municipally owned park land. Hubbard Park, at 1800 acres, is the largest municipal park in all of New England and was designed by the firm of famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the site of iconic Castle Craig, which at 1,025 feet is the highest point within 20 miles of the coastline between Maine and Georgia, with views on a clear day of Long Island Sound. For the past 37 years, this park has hosted Meriden’s annual Daffodil Festival, attracting more than 100,000 spectators to enjoy the 650,000 blooming daffodils. Meriden is surrounded by basalt ridgelines crossed by nationally recognized hiking trails and is in the third phase of constructing a linear trail system that will connect to the new town green and ultimately bisect the town diagonally. The City is located within one hour of the Connecticut shoreline and within easy traveling distance to various tourist attractions and recreation areas. City-owned Hunter Memorial golf course has been rated a top ten course in Connecticut, and Falcon Field, a multi-sport turf facility attracts high school, college, and semi-professional sports teams.

The community is served by Meriden Public School District, which has eight elementary, two middle, and two high schools, as well as Venture Academy and a college and career readiness center. A State vocation education high school is also located in Meriden. Of the 9,100 students, 76% pursue higher education, 65% are minority, and 70 percent are on free and reduced lunch. The school administration is a recognized leader in extended learning, student centered learning, the use of digital devices and a recipient of grants and awards from the Nellie Mae foundation, the AFT, and other sources. The City will complete a $220 million like new renovation of its two high schools within the next year. A branch of Middlesex community college is located in the city center and Meriden is less than a 30-minute drive from a host of colleges and universities, including Yale and Wesleyan.

A strong community spirit meld the many ethnic groups of the City together, with civic groups, clubs, 30 active neighborhood associations, religious institutions, and non-profits working cooperatively with City government for the betterment of all city residents.

Compensation

The hiring salary range is expected to be $160,00-$170,000 depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefit package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

This position has been filled and is no longer available.

Thank you for your interest.

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Apply online at thenovakconsultinggroup.com/jobs and include a single document with cover letter, resume with salary history, and list of 3-5 professional references (submit one Word or PDF document please). Open until filled with first review of applications June 3, 2016. Just click the button to get started.

Questions

Questions should be directed to Catherine Tuck Parrish at apply@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 240-832-1778.

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