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#18 - How to negotiate a manager contract with Ron Wagenmann and Larry Comunale
Episode 189th September 2022 • PCC Local Time • Nancy Joan Hess
00:00:00 01:11:52

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This is a special PCC Local Time podcast episode hosted by some of the members of the Pioneering Change Advisory Team.

For many years I have heard anecdotal comments from managers that go something like, “I would not mind a contract like Ron Wagenmann’s!” Or, Everything I know about negotiating a manager contract I learned from Ron Wagenmann.”

So, it seemed like a natural choice to feature Ron on a podcast. But I decided I was not the right choice to interview him, so I asked his longtime colleague and friend Larry Communale to do the honors. A few of the other advisory team members joined the session to weigh in with comments and questions.

In addition to Keith helping out with hosting, you will hear Jack Hines join the conversation, and later Erin Trone, David Kratzer and Joe Mench. I also jump in with a question or two. You can find links to their contact information at the end of the show notes.

[2:01] Could you explain the statutory authority that allows governing bodies to provide for manager contracts in Pennsylvania?

[3:24] In view of those statutory provisions in our topic today is negotiating managers, contracts and so forth. How does how do should managers with a contract keep them enforce them?

[5:44] What would be your advice to the newly appointed manager negotiating his or her first contract?

[7:26] Automatic salary adjustment clauses.

[13:04] Where does a manager to get advice on manager contract issues? [ICMA Model Agreement]

[24:18] What amount of severance is reasonable?

[32:53] How do you introduce that subject or at what point in the process would you recommend introducing the idea to bring up the fact that you would like to have a contract?

[35:40] If a municipality makes an offer of employment, does that become a contract or enforceable document?

[39:22] How to you handle the contract question when the manager is promoted from within?

[44:38] How do you believe a manager should negotiate for additional benefits? What are some of the reactions you might expect when the subject of enhancements to a contract is brought up?

[47:55] Do you tie contract enhancements to an annual review?

[52:13] At what point in the hiring process do you want to hear from somebody about what they want in their contract?

Ron Wagenmann is former manager at Upper Merion Township in Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania and currently works as a Transportation Specialist/ Public Works Coordinator at Boles, Smyth Associates, Inc. Ron has served in numerous capacities including chairing the State Transportation Advisory Committee.

Larry Comunale is former manager at Lower Gwynedd Township in Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania. He has taught in the MPA Program at Villanova University as an Adjunct Professor for 16 years and the MPP Program at Delaware Valley University. Mr. Comunale continues to teach and design courses for the Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors. He does consulting work for municipalities, including searches for Managers and other management positions.

Keith Hite, Former Executive Director of Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS).

Erin (Genest) Trone, Assistant Manager, Lower Allen Township in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

Joseph Mench, Assistant Township Manager / Director of IT and Communications

Jack M. Hines, Jr., West Bradford Township. Jack is the former manager and current Board member of the West Bradford Township Board of Supervisors in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

David W. Kratzer, Jr. Former manager of Susquehanna Township and current Managing Consultant, NcNees Strategic Solutions Group.

Nancy J Hess, HR & Org Dev Consultant, NJ Hess Associates