Upper Arlington City Council voted unanimously March 4 to hire Ralph Anderson & Associates of Rocklin, California, to help find the next city manager.

The contract with the consultant firm is for up to $37,950.

“They’ve done work with the city of Dublin, and they’ve done past work with Upper Arlington,” council President Kip Greenhill said. “They did good work. They brought Ted Staton here.”

Greenhill said Ralph Anderson & Associates not only will pool and review applicants interested in becoming Upper Arlington’s next city manager, but also will recruit administrators from throughout the country.

The ordinance approved March 4 stipulates that Greenhill as council president would authorize the contract instead of Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley, who has been serving as interim city manager since Feb. 1.

Greenhill said he hopes the move would quell any fears residents might have about the appearance of a conflict of interest now that Ralley has said he plans to apply for the city manager’s post.

Staton retired Jan. 31 after serving as city manager since July 2011. He died Feb. 12 at age 63 after a battle with esophageal cancer.

When a new city manager will be selected has yet to be determined.

Greenhill said it likely wouldn’t occur before this summer because council members plan to have discussions with residents about the position before interviewing finalists.

“That’s going to be quite a ways away,” he said. “I think it’s important that there’s enough time for (potential candidates) to become aware of this.

“It’ll be some time during the summer, hopefully, but if we have to take longer to find someone, we’ll do it.”

At this point, no salary range has been advertised for the city manager’s position. At the time he retired, Staton’s salary was $206,589.63 annually.