Choosing new town manager top priority

John McCann

Town Manager Steve Riley announced his retirement last month, leaving us with big shoes to fill. He has been at the helm for 26 of his 29 years with the Town of Hilton Head Island.

Steve has done an awesome job guiding us through many changes and challenges over the years. The town was still in its infancy, having been incorporated in 1983, when Steve joined the staff. In that time, he helped to develop many guiding principles and initiatives that have shaped our wonderful community and staff. Steve's leadership has helped keep this island a community where people want to live, work, visit and retire. We wish him a well-deserved retirement and thank him for his leadership and his many, many contributions to our town.

With Steve's announcement, Town Council now has to fulfill one of its greatest responsibilities - to identify and hire a new town manager. This search is our highest priority and will certainly be a tremendous task. We started the process by naming an ad hoc committee of Town Council made up of three members - David Ames, William Harkins and me.

The committee immediately began its work soon after Steve's announcement. We reviewed proposals from 17 national consulting firms. We rated the 17 firms and chose four finalists. On June 26, our ad hoc committee heard presentations virtually from the four finalists. This gave us the opportunity to extensively question these firms about their proposals and backgrounds so we can choose the best one to help lead our search.

By the time this edition of Hilton Head Sun is published, we will have presented our recommendation to the full Town Council, and engaged the selected firm to proceed with their work.

Our hope is that we will find the ideal candidate to help lead our staff, undertake a new comprehensive plan and continue our goal of creating a world-class community. Steve's plan is to remain with the town until Dec. 31 or until a new town manager is hired. We will keep you updated on this process.

John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island.

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