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Cambridge City Council Releases Leadership Profile for Next City Manager

Cambridge City Hall is located in Central Square.
Cambridge City Hall is located in Central Square. By Santiago A. Saldivar
By Elias J. Schisgall, Crimson Staff Writer

The Cambridge City Council discussed a newly-released draft of a leadership profile for Cambridge’s next city manager during a virtual meeting of the Government Operations, Rules, and Claims committee Wednesday afternoon.

The leadership profile — made public Wednesday morning — outlines the skills, qualifications, and experience the Council will look for during the selection process for the new manager, an appointed official who oversees the city budget and day-to-day municipal operations. The current city manager, Louis A. DePasquale, plans to retire this summer.

“​​The City Manager will demonstrate an ability to work closely and creatively with the City Council, City departments, stakeholders, and residents,” the profile reads. “The ideal candidate will address issues through strategic thinking and long term plans, seeing the big picture and taking a systemic approach to rectify the problem.”

The profile also emphasizes the “opportunities and challenges” the new manager will face in expanding affordable housing, improving transportation infrastructure, and fighting climate change.

“While Cambridge has been intentional in its resiliency efforts and attempts to reduce local emissions, we have missed recent emissions targets and do not appear to be on track to hit our 2030 climate goals,” the profile reads. “The next City Manager must understand the importance and urgency of the climate crisis and embrace the challenge of making Cambridge a leader in resiliency and emissions reductions.”

The profile was developed by Randi Frank Consulting LLC, a third-party consultant firm coordinating the search for the city.

Randi Frank and the Council released the profile after more than a month of extensive community outreach by Randi Frank and the Council, including a series of nearly 20 focus groups with community leaders and a public comment website that received over 4,000 comments.

Cambridge Vice Mayor Alana M. Mallon, the chair of the Government Operations committee and the leader of the search process, said the Council’s push for public engagement was designed to foster diversity both among the stakeholders involved in the process and the applicants for the position.

“We democratize the process to ensure for a broader range of voices even to develop the leadership profile, to ensure that we have a diverse set of candidates at the end,” Mallon said.

Once the profile is finalized later this month, the consulting firm will distribute it to groups of potential applicants, including the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the League of Women in Government.

“We’re really trying to diversify and make sure that we’re getting this leadership profile in front of the right eyeballs,” Mallon said. “As a city, we value diversity, equity, and inclusion, and so we really need to be intentional about recruiting.”

—Staff writer Elias J. Schisgall can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @eschisgall.

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