Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's officially officious -OR- Small Town Charm?

After an exhaustive nationwide search (snark),after wading through more than 150 applications from highly qualified candidates, after sit down interviews with 30 men and women determined to be viable, then winnowing that number down to two finalists, the village council voted 3-2 to hire an seemingly under-qualified local guy to be the next village administrator. Not just any local guy mind you, but a former three-term member of the very council who, after careful and secret deliberations, chose him as our next VA.

The hiring brings over a decade of turmoil and contentiousness over the position of village administrator full circle. The guy they've now hired helped create the position he's going to fill. His first campaign was largely based on the need for professional administration of the daily affairs of the village. He fought for creating the position and actively participated in the hiring of the first VA.
He made it a prerequisite that the position required an advanced degree in an appropriate discipline (or equivalent experience). A professional, he argued, would save the village money that would offset the salary. A professional, he argued, would be skilled in identifying and accessing new revenue streams. Not having a highly skilled, professional administrator, he said, was unacceptable.
He set the bar high and with great fanfare ushered in the era of professional management in the village of Forest Park.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the motion, the discussion, the vote and very quick adjournment.

Most noticeable in the "discussion" over the motion to hire is that the guy in the middle, who cast the deciding vote offered ZERO explanation for his decision. That's the way the mop flops.

The only explanation necessary is that THREE VOTES beats TWO VOTES every time. Majority rules. So for a village of 15,588 people, three cronies can hire another crony to oversee the daily functions of their fiefdom. Nice gig. $80-100K annual salary plus benefits.

Personally, I'm on the fence over this selection. Since all of the pertinent discussions over the selection have taken place behind closed doors I can only guess at the reasoning behind the choice. He is familiar with the village, has shown a commitment to the town, is mostly viewed as a decent, hardworking guy. That could be enough to make him a wise choice. He knows where all the skeletons are and where the potential landmines are. That too can be helpful. What nobody knows at this point is why he was chosen over the degreed professionals who offered their knowledge, talents and services.

Who could have foreseen that setting the bar high for filling the position would allow him to slither in beneath it? How LOW can you go?

For a council that has not allowed ethical considerations and appearances of impropriety to slow their roll, this decision is not a big shocker.

Like I said, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the HUGE doubt over his selection. He now has the opportunity to prove me and a great many people with serious misgivings completely wrong and lead us into the future wisely, prudently and responsibly. But what are the odds?

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