Moline will welcome in three new interim department directors next week to assist in implementing the city’s newly adopted strategic plan in the coming months. The interims will be in place for up to six months, while the city resets its search for permanent directors with the assistance of executive search firms.
The new interims will head up the Community and Economic Development, Engineering and Public Works departments. Those positions have been vacant since 2019, 2020 and April 2021, respectively.
Michael Schenk will serve as interim City Engineer. He recently retired as City Engineer in Plant City, Florida. Charles Graves, who has worked in economic development in Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Baltimore, will serve as the interim Community and Economic Development Director. And Brad Fink will fill in as interim Public Works director after a 25-year stint as Public Works Director in Wauconda, Illinois. All three will start work on Monday, Dec. 6.
Leah Miller, Moline’s Human Resources Director, said internal recruiting efforts to fill those critical vacancies were significantly hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn over the past 18 months. While the interims are in place, the city will utilize two executive search firms to reboot the search for permanent directors and a new assistant city administrator.
“We are taking a two-pronged approach, and using executive recruiters will give us the opportunity to look for high-level candidates from a wider geographic footprint and to cast a wider net,” Miller said. “The other prong is utilizing interims until we get those positions filled.”
City Administrator Bob Vitas, who himself was recruited through an executive search firm, said its critically important to have interims in place while permanent candidates are recruited.
“Given the city’s recently adopted strategic plan and soon-to-be-approved operations budget, we have an aggressive schedule of projects and programs we need to launch and get up to speed. That requires more hands on deck.”
Each of the positions being recruited is critically important and need high-level candidates, Vitas said, particularly the Community and Economic Development Director.
“We need a director with a wide array of talents,” ranging from business attraction and retention, TIF management, downtown redevelopment and community programs, Vitas said. “It is a mission-critical position and we can’t fill it just to fill it. That would be a disservice to the residents of Moline.”
Vitas said the city will employ multiple search firms in order to create a robust, nationwide search. The goal is to have all positions filled by the end of the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2022. The City Council has budgeted $82,000 to conduct the searches.