Doraville searches for new city manager

Last year voters in Doraville passed a referendum allowing the city to change its form of government to one with a part-time mayor and a full-time city manager.

Doraville is one of the last cities in DeKalb County to convert to such a form of government.

The change means that Mayor Donna Pittman will share some of her powers with whoever is hired to be the city manager. Pittman said that although the change means she will have less power, it will be important for her to maintain a close relationship with residents. She said is important for residents to continue to have the opportunity to speak openly with their mayor.

“I think it’s very important that you maintain the relationship that [residents] enjoy with the mayor. [Residents] like that one-on-one, and I think that’s very important,” Pittman said.

In 1981 Doraville changed from a city manager to a full-time mayor form of government by way of a referendum.

The city has hired Colin Baenziger and Associates, a local executive search firm, to conduct a search for the new city manager. Luke Howe, Pittman’s assistant, said the firm has interviewed the mayor, city council members, department heads and residents, and held a town hall meeting.

Baenziger said they have received 92 applications for the job.

“We’ve got some really good people,” Baenziger said.

Since Doraville is a city that is transitioning from a strong mayoral form of government to one run primarily by a city manager, Baenziger said his firm is looking for someone who has served as a city manager in a similar situation.

“We’re looking for someone who has been a city manager and ideally we’re looking for someone who has been [an inaugural] city manager,” Baenziger said.

Baenziger said the alternative is to have a candidate who has been both a mayor and a city manager at some point in their career. The firm began screening applicants at the beginning of November; Baenziger said the firm will present the semi-finalists for the job to the Doraville City Council Dec. 10.

After the city council has narrowed down the list it will conduct one-on-one interviews and announce its top choice for the position on Jan. 14; the council will also submit the top three candidates for the job for publication.

Baenziger said officials hope to have made an official decision on the new city manager no later than Feb. 1.



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