Steve Riley

The Hilton Head Town Council has hired an executive search firm to find the top candidates to succeed town manager Steve Riley, who announced his resignation June 1.

Riley has said he will remain in his position until the end of this year, or until a replacement is hired.

Colin Baenziger and Associates, a national company based in Florida that was founded in 1997, will be paid $26,500 to conduct the search.

The company began its work last month. Aug. 14 is the closing date for applications, and the town will interview three to five finalists by Sept. 21. A final selection by the town is expected Oct. 2.

Riley, a 60-year-old native of Omaha, Neb., has worked for the town since 1991. He spent the past 26 years as town manager and initially served as community development director for three years.

He announced his resignation to town staff at a morning meeting and then sent a letter to Town Council members, writing: “My 29 years of service to the Town have provided me great personal and professional satisfaction, but the time has come to move to a different stage in my life.”

He served as chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch of the municipal government and has been responsible for the town’s daily operations.

“I have enjoyed working with the various mayors and members of town council over the years and to have been a part of so many initiatives that have enriched the lives of our citizens and guests,” he said.

In March 2017, Riley was selected as Grand Marshal of the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade, in honor of his outstanding leadership in handling the town’s recovery following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

He also has served on the boards of numerous local and statewide organizations through the years.

In an update to citizens posted June 1, Riley wrote, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I love the Hilton Head Island community, but I know it’s time for me to move to a different stage in my life. The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced that life is precious. Thank you to the many, many individuals who have supported me over the years.”

Lowcountry resident Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer.