County Hires Recruiter for National Search To Find Three Agency Chiefs

Directors for health, housing and libraries will be screened by private firm

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Montgomery County has hired a Bethesda executive recruiting firm to conduct a national search for candidates to fill three top positions in the new administration of County Executive Marc Elrich.

Elrich ordered the search to find directors for the county’s departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Community Affairs and library system, a spokesman said.

“The buck stops at the county executive,” Ohene Gyapong, a county spokesman, said Friday. “It’s under his direction to get the best people for the job.”

The firm Krauthamer & Associates, which has done work for transportation trade associations, and health-care and financial services firms, will be paid based on a percentage of the position’s salary, Gyapong said.

The fee is equal to 28.5 percent of each of the salaries for the positions, which all top $100,000, according to the county’s salary database. Two of the jobs have salaries above $200,000, as of 2017.

Elrich has signaled that he believes the salaries of some top administrators are too high.

Gyapong said that the county hired the firm two years ago to help find a health officer and liquor control officer.

“For the executive level, I would say it’s not uncommon [to hire a search firm],” he said.

Gregg Moser, a partner with Krauthamer & Associates, said Monday that the county’s human resources department approached the firm some time after the election with the request to perform the search. A searches for local government positions, he said, take an average of 90 days, but there could be a slight delay in the recruiting process due to the holidays.

“We have started the process of meeting with stakeholders and focus groups,” he said.

Moser said in addition to Montgomery County, the firm has also performed searches for local government positions in the District of Columbia, New York City and Charlotte, N.C.

Three major staff changes have occurred since Elrich took office Dec. 3, with the confirmation by the County Council of Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine, Recreation Director Robin Riley and Budget Director Rich Madaleno.

Anita Vassallo has been serving as acting director of Montgomery County Public Libraries since 2017, while Housing Director Tim Goetzinger took over following the resignation of Clarence Snuggs on Nov. 30. Victoria Buckland became the acting health and human services director following the resignation of Uma Ahluwalia on Nov. 30.

Gyapong said Elrich has no plans to make further staff changes. More than 30 department heads serve at the pleasure of the county executive according to the county website.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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