CALUMET CITY | Municipal government wants to hire a new person to oversee economic development. Officials on Thursday hired a consulting firm that will help them with what could turn into a national search to fill the position.
The City Council held a special meeting to hear a presentation from Voorhees Associates — a firm that works with governments and nonprofit organizations to help them hire people for top positions.
Aldermen then voted 7-0 in favor of hiring the Deerfield, Ill., firm. It came recommended by City Attorney Burt Odelson, who said his law firm also works with government in Franklin Park.
Heidi Voorhees, who leads the firm, said she will be paid $12,500 for her work, which she’s being expected to complete within seven weeks. She said it typically takes her firm closer to 90 days to find a candidate for a municipal post, but said she is being asked to speed up the process by Calumet City officials.
She said her firm also will be reimbursed for expenses she incurs, up to $4,000.
Her firm searches through resumes, finds applicants for Calumet City officials to interview and also does background checks on applicants for the city. Voorhees said she expects to make a recommendation from among the applicants.
“I hope to make (the city’s) job easy. I want to give (the city) two to three people to choose from,” she said.
Officials said they hope to get a qualified person for about a $90,000 salary, but details such as whether the person will be full time or a contractor for the city, or whether he or she will have to live in Calumet City, have yet to be figured out.
“We really haven’t thought about it,” Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush said of those job details.
The council plans to meet again next week to discuss specifics of what they want from an economic development person. Once details are worked out, Voorhees said she will be able to start advertising the job opening on websites maintained by organizations such as the International Economic Development Council and Strategic Government Resources.
Voorhees said she also plans to attend a professional conference in Boston later this month and will spread the word there about the Calumet City position.
“I will talk up the job,” she said.
Third Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones said he’d like to see some assurances that applicants of racial or ethnic minorities are considered for the position. Voorhees said there likely would be some ad postings on websites that appeal to black and Latino professionals.