After three failed attempts to fill the vacant city comptroller position, Auburn City Manager Douglas Selby said the city now plans to use a recruitment agency to find a new finance chief.
Selby said Tuesday that the third prospective candidate, a Rochester-area accountant, turned down an offer from the city earlier this month, citing worries that he would be unable to sell his home in a depressed real estate market.
The city manager said two other candidates — Cayuga County Deputy Treasurer Paul Padlick and an unnamed Syracuse CPA — rejected job offers when their current employers offered them raises to retain their positions.
"I'm definitely disappointed," Selby said. "I though we had three really good candidates, and we went as far as interviews with the City Council and extended written offers, and they decided not to take the position."
With the hiring pool exhausted, the city will now turn to a professional recruitment agency. The position has been open for six months.
"We haven't reached any agreements yet, but we've been discussing the position with a couple of companies that I've worked with in the past," Selby said. "They keep databases of people that they know are looking for jobs and help connect the people to the jobs."
He said that typically, the companies charge either a flat fee or a percentage of the salary of the person who is hired, but he has not yet received any cost proposals.
The city manager said that while he has focused mainly on candidates from central New York to cut down on moving expenses, he's open to expanding the search to a national level.
Former City Comptroller Linda Harissis was ousted from the position last October.
Lisa Green, who served as comptroller prior to Harissis, has been acting as a consultant for the city in the interim.
To fill the $70,669-a-year position, the city is hoping to find someone with previous experience with the Munis software used by city hall, experience with a budget similar in size to Auburn's and a certified public accountant's license.
Part of the comptroller's responsibilities include working with the city manager and the department heads to build the city budget before the July start of the fiscal year.
Selby said he and the city treasurer have been working to prepare the budget documents to submit for the city council's approval, and he expects the budget to be passed on time.