Selecting a chief administrator is perhaps the most important decision that elected officials will make for their community.  ICMA members may assist a community in the process by serving as an executive recruiter in a consulting capacity, as a volunteer advisor to the process, or a member of the search committee as long as they can be fair and impartial and will not be a candidate for the position. In order to uphold the values outlined in the ICMA Code of Ethics, members are advised to function within the parameters outlined as follows:  

  1. Members can volunteer their time to serve as an advisor to the process or as part of a search committee as long as they will not be a candidate for the position.  
  2. In an advisory capacity, members may assist the governing body to identify the preferred attributes and skills of the next manager; write the job description and job ad; outline the process; develop the schedule; make recommendations about the interview questions and process; review resumes; and evaluate candidates.  Members should not recommend candidates.     
  3. Because the selection of the manager is uniquely the responsibility of the governing body, managers should be careful about influencing the selection of a candidate. To that end, they should avoid participating in the interview with the governing body as well as governing body sessions where decisions are made about finalists and the final candidate. 
  4. Members who provide this service on a consulting basis should follow the guidelines on outside employment.
  5. If a member, serving as a consultant or in an advisory capacity, is offered the position or decides to apply for the position, he or she should immediately withdraw as an advisor and the position should be re-advertised. In this way, any appearance of improper influence is avoided.
  6. Members may respond to inquiries from elected officials by providing professional advice but in no case should a member seek out officials to comment on a candidate’s qualifications for the position.


Ethical scenarios from PM's Ethics Matter!

Encores, Fans, and Futures (2010)