A wave of people who oversee Scottsdale’s essential services are about to retire, triggering an experimental program to ensure a new generation of leaders is qualified to keep the city running.
An outside leadership company has started training 16 mid-level officials at the city who will likely become senior leaders in the next several years.
The city has used private companies for training before, but not on this scale. Dozens of managers — about one in five senior leaders — will reach retirement age in three years and create openings for new managers, city spokesman Pat Dodds said.
That kind of turnover in upper management could create a leadership gap — and loss of institutional knowledge — if the city doesn’t prepare, said Susan Middents, who is in charge of the city’s training programs.
"There are a lot of baby boomers where retirement is going to be a real thing in near future," Middents said. "By investing in our current leaders to be better coaches, they’re going to enable the next generation of leaders to become more productive."
The younger managers are getting training from the Professional Coaching Institute, a Scottsdale-based company. The city is trying the program for six months. Scottsdale plans to sign longer contracts and train other employees over the next several years if participants and people who work with them at the city consider the effort worthwhile.
The city will spend $19,000 on the program, part of its $1 million training budget. The training involves several daylong sessions at city offices and various follow-up efforts.
The city also hopes the program encourages employees to continue their careers there since recruiting replacements is often costly and time consuming.