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Search money for manager was worth it

While some town critics may bemoan the fact that Farmville’s Town Council spent $27,500 on a search firm only to find its next town manager at a desk in Town Hall, it was tax money well spent.

The council officially took the interim nameplate off Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis’ title last week making his appointment official after embarking on a six-month search and spending $27,500 with The Berkley Group, a consulting firm for local governments.

The search did several positive things that will help the town as it moves forward with Davis as town manager.

Having an outside group take a look at other applicants and confirm Davis was a candidate who stood out among the 12 candidates interviewed from the 36 applicants received gives them confidence that they had the right candidate. What could have been a default promotion for Davis turned into an appointment he earned.

The search validated Davis as the top candidate and leaves no question he can do the job.

If the town council had not looked outside the town for a replacement, it would have left the question hanging if there was someone better they missed out on because they chose to move the assistant to the town manager role.

The search did Davis a favor, as it gives him credibility and negates any rumors that his appointment was a foregone conclusion.

The additional benefits that come from the Berkley Group will also be helpful as Davis gets his feet on the ground. The group will help in the onboarding process for both Davis and the council and work to set expectations.

The fact that the town will not fill the assistant town manager role is a good move as well. With a population of less than 8,000, Farmville is not nearly big enough to have someone in that role.

For not having performed a town manager search in more than 40 years, the town council came out with a good result. The search process and the benefits it brought are well worth the money spent.