The Carson City School Board of Trustees selected the Nevada Association of School Boards as its third-party consultant of choice in hiring its next superintendent Tuesday after reviewing three proposals under consideration.
Current Superintendent Richard Stokes has announced he will retire in June.
Board President Joe Cacioppo on Sept. 14 suggested delaying its decision to give members more time to review proposals submitted by two national firms, GR Recruiting in Arizona and McPherson & Jacobson in Omaha, Neb., as well as NASB, based in Sparks.
Cacioppo said he had received a fourth proposal on Tuesday, but it was after the deadline for inclusion in the board materials and said it was still important to consider the original three proposals at hand.
With the cost for selecting the proposal not to exceed $19,050, GR Recruiting offered its services for a base fee of $15,000 with a travel estimate of $1,500 and an advertising estimate of $1,500. McPherson & Jacobson was offering a base fee of $19,050, with its travel estimate and advertising fees included.
NASB offered to assist at a fee of $9,500 with travel included and did not indicate its advertising costs.
Cacioppo on Tuesday said the notion to hire a consultant was to ensure the next superintendent would be vetted well enough to fit into the community.
“The hope is we will find someone, in or out of the district, who meets the qualifications, who has the temperament we’re looking for, hopefully to serve as our next superintendent upon our current superintendent’s date of retirement, which will occur in June 2022,” he said.
Trustee Mike Walker supported the use of NASB and Executive Director Debb Oliver as the local organization who might best respond to Carson City’s needs.
“I don’t think we want it to be that complicated,” Walker said. “We know Debb, we can get her on the phone. We know that she understands Nevada, which both of the other proposals have limited experience in the state. So, in my mind, it’s an economical choice and the logical choice.”
Trustee Don Carine said it would be important to have someone “who wants to be here.”
Cacioppo said it should be a priority to cast a wider net and make sure quality candidates are identified on a national level. He added public concerns have been raised about proper screening since candidates often look good on paper but might not be as polished in person or bring the hometown feel that is desired in Carson City amongst other traits.
The board also remained wary about conducting long surveys and turning off stakeholders in the community input process.
Trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch later added she hoped to see some of the district’s own employees apply for the position.
The item raised concerns from local residents prior to the vote. Resident Kevin Schwartz said NASB’s offer for its services “seems to be underbid” at $9,500, suggesting that at an estimate of $100 per hour, this amounts to 95 hours, or about two and a half weeks of work.
Trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch replied that the board gets a better rate as a member of the association.
Resident Greg McMenamy agreed that looking for someone locally versus national candidates would help the district to stretch its money further and said he appreciated its willingness to use a Nevada-based firm.
The board approved its motion to hire NASB at its proposed fee of $9,500 in a vote of 7-0.