City Manager

Takoma Park, MD | Full-time

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The Position

The City of Takoma Park, Maryland – a highly desirable inner suburb of Washington, D.C., informally known as “Azalea City”— seeks an experienced and talented City Manager to manage the day-to-day operations of their municipal government. The selected candidate will work collaboratively with the Deputy City Manager, City Council, residents, and staff to ensure the community remains a model for progressive, inclusive, innovative, and responsive government in this community of approximately 17,000 residents.

This is both an exciting and challenging time as the City responds to the increased needs of residents during the health crisis and the economic impact of the crisis while also seeking to innovate and try new ways to better meet the needs of all their residents. At the same time, the City is undertaking the renovation of its library, exploring options to redevelop its Recreation Center on New Hampshire Avenue, addressing the impact of Purple Line construction, and much more. Embedded in all the work of the City is a focus on racial equity.

Over the past couple years, the collaborative efforts of the City Council, residents, and City staff have resulted in the adoption of the Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan, the Climate Emergency Response Framework Resolution, and ongoing racial equity training.  The City has put policies and implementation steps in place to address the challenges of the coming years and the high expectations residents have of their government.

The City Manager is appointed by and reports directly to the City Council. The City Manager oversees all City staff through the City’s Deputy City Manager and department directors. The current City Manager is retiring after 27 years of service with the City, the last seven of which she served as City Manager.

The City Manager:

  • Directs the delivery of municipal services by coordinating work across departments.
  • Coordinates the development of the City’s annual proposed budget and Capital Improvement Program and monitors the adopted budget throughout the year.
  • Represents the City in maintaining and developing intergovernmental agency relationships.
  • Coordinates inquiries from the City Council and the general public and oversees proactive communication and public engagement.
  • Coordinates the City’s efforts related to racial equity.
  • Attends and participates in weekly City Council meetings and provides appropriate staff reports and recommendations to aid the Council.
  • Participates in union contract negotiations, serves as hearing officer for grievances, oversees general personnel policies, and approves personnel changes.

The Organization

The City of Takoma Park operates under a Council-Manager form of government. Policymaking and legislative authority are vested in a government body consisting of a Mayor and six Councilmembers. The City Council is elected on a non-partisan basis, and all seven members serve two-year terms.

The City of Takoma Park is proud to be a workforce of approximately 200 full-time and part-time employees that are as diverse as the community they serve. The City strives to maintain excellent customer service and responsiveness to its residents and everyone they work with. With that in mind, they seek to improve by championing quality and efficiency through a dedicated workforce and a cooperative spirit.

The City is staffed by approximately 172 FTEs and has an adopted FY2021 budget of $34.2 Million.

The Council has established priorities and strategies for 2021-2022 in these areas:

  1. Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on the community and City operations
  2. A livable community for all
  3. Fiscally sustainable government
  4. Environmentally sustainable community
  5. Engaged, responsive, service-oriented government
  6. Community development for an improved and equitable quality of life

Experience and Education

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and at least five (5) years of progressively responsible leadership experience in a local government, nonprofit, or an organization that serves similar constituents.

Preferred qualifications include demonstrated experience in racial equity and inclusion, community engagement, and sustainability/climate change efforts. In addition, experience with capital project management, economic development/redevelopment, housing affordability, and intergovernmental and nonprofit partnerships is preferred. Experience working in a similar full-service city with community relations, financial management, public works functions, human resources management, community planning, economic development, green initiatives, police, housing/landlord/tenant, library, transportation planning, recreation management, senior and youth issues, and emergency management is also preferred. A master’s degree in public administration or a related field, ICMA-CM, and fluency in another language are desirable (Spanish, French, or Amharic).

Community Input

In advance of the City Manager recruitment process, the City of Takoma Park Mayor and Council hosted a community conversation work session and solicited input through an online community survey and community focus groups. The goal was to identify desired City Manager attributes and essential community values.

The community survey identified the top three leadership qualities necessary for the next City Manager to be successful as being:

  • Transparent
  • Problem Solver
  • Collaborative

The community expressed the top three areas of expertise important for the new City Manager to be successful:

  • Fiscal and Budgetary
  • Planning and Economic Development
  • Project Management

The top three community characteristics the survey respondents value most include:

  • Diversity of People
  • Being a Progressive Community
  • Having Access to Amenities

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Takoma Park’s ideal City Manager is a creative, forward-thinking local government manager with exceptional communication and leadership skills.

Culturally Competent. The successful candidate understands Takoma Park’s unique culture and has experience engaging with a culturally and economically diverse population, advancing racial equity, reimagining public safety, and marshaling human capital and financial resources to implement City Council priority areas.

Communicator. They will work to engage and manage relationships with staff, City Council, other elected officials, and members of the community and understands the importance of being a presence in the community. This person will be an effective listener and communicator, at ease speaking with varied audiences, building consensus, providing transparency in decision-making, and achieving strategic goals.

Focused. The successful candidate is fully committed to Takoma Park and is capable of prioritizing initiatives and projects, identifying resources needed, and making tough decisions when necessary to ensure the continued success of the community. They lead with confidence, compassion, and emotional intelligence and are community focused. The ideal candidate will be a strong leader who can balance conflicting interests and priorities, be responsive to dynamic community needs, and keep focused on the long-term strategic objectives. The next City Manager will provide clear professional recommendations grounded in best practices and innovation.

Innovative. This person will be proactive and visionary, working with Council to prioritize goals while managing day-to-day operations to ensure the future success of the community. The ideal candidate will be able to refine and implement a long-term vision, align resources, and grow organizational capacity to meet future needs. Takoma Park’s City Manager will foster cross-disciplinary teamwork and foster new ideas to solve challenging problems.

Financial Manager. The next City Manager will be fiscally prudent, recognize the importance of long-term planning, and be able to articulate the options for varying levels of service and their cost implications in a transparent manner. The next City Manager will ensure the City continues to be fiscally, socially, and environmentally sustainable. The ideal candidate will confidently manage the budget process, striving for more financial transparency, and enter the role with a strong financial background.

Staff Leader. Takoma Park’s next City Manager will be a collaborative, facilitative leader, empowering its high-performing, competent staff. This person will provide clear expectations and be an effective team builder, instilling confidence and pride in staff and recognizing and utilizing the talent and capabilities of employees. The ideal candidate will be a decisive leader who will set high standards, communicate those standards clearly, and hold staff accountable for results. The City Manager will serve as a liaison between Council and staff and help clarify roles and responsibilities to effectively meet community needs.

Collaborative. The next City Manager will have proven success in building relationships and collaborating with government, private, nonprofit, community, and educational partners to achieve community goals.

The Community

The City of Takoma Park is a culturally and economically diverse, progressive community adjacent to Washington, D.C. Takoma Park residents benefit from the excellent Montgomery County public school system, the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus of Montgomery College, and the four-year Washington Adventist University. The City is a cultural hub, with more than 30 percent of residents born outside of the United States and 34 percent of residents speaking a language other than English at home. The majority of Takoma Park’s residents are people of color, and 30 percent of businesses are minority-owned.

Takoma Park has a large historic district, two major commercial districts, many parks, and attractive, walkable neighborhoods. It is a densely populated, suburban community with a mix of single-family homes, garden and high-rise apartments, neighborhood commercial areas, and strip shopping centers. The City has a distinct international character and has served as a gateway community for persons new to the region and immigrants alike. The Old Takoma commercial area is a designated Historic Main Street with businesses in a contiguous commercial area located on both sides of the border with the District of Columbia. The Takoma/Langley Crossroads (TLC) area is widely recognized as a local and regional destination featuring a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and other unique retail services and is experiencing redevelopment and reinvestment. It is located along Maryland’s International Corridor (a two-mile stretch of University Boulevard) and adjacent to Prince George’s County. There are several other similar commercial areas in the City.

Takoma Park is also known for its extensive tree canopy and commitment to sustainability. The City is home to a variety of arts and cultural events throughout the year, including folk and jazz music festivals, the Takoma Park Independent Film Festival, and the Celebrate Takoma Festival. Residents enjoy two Farmers Markets and the City and County’s parks and trails system.

The City is located along the Red Line of the region’s Metrorail system and is served by both the Metro and Ride-On bus systems. The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that will extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. The Purple Line is currently under construction and will have two stations adjacent to Takoma Park – one at the Takoma Langley Transit Center and the other in Long Branch. The community has a vibrant music and arts scene and access to a plethora of urban and cultural amenities. Takoma Park occupies approximately 2.4 square miles in southern Montgomery County and was formally incorporated in 1890.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 17,725
  • Median Household Income: $85,591
  • Owner-occupied homes: 52.8%
  • Median Home Value: $583,800
  • Median Age: 38.6

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Compensation

The expected hiring range is $180,000 – $210,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package including fully paid health insurance premiums. Reasonable relocation expenses will also be provided if relocation is required. Residency is welcomed but not required. Engagement in the community is important.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on April 5, 2021.

Questions

Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at apply@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure