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City manager search continues
by Jacob Lane · February 05, 2014

It was a shorter meeting than usual for the WL city council on Jan. 21. They primarily discussed the interview process for a new full-time city manager, emphasizing the need for community involvement.

Currently Vorhees Associates LLC is in the process of receiving resumes and assembling possible candidates for the position. The company will present 10-12 final candidates to the council sometime in February.

In early March the council will whittle down the candidate pool to five or six. However, several council members have discussed a need for transparency, and want the public to have a say in the process.

"One [option] that kind of struck me that I thought was very favorable…is the city panel interview option, where basically the city council gets to vote one member of the community to sit on the interview board with the final candidates," said Mayor Robert Hartman, "I think that shows some transparency, it shows some involvement with the citizens."

Basically, each city council member can appoint one community member to a board that's part of the final interview process, or a panel of people can be chosen by the board as a whole.

Council members also discussed a meet-and-greet event, in which the community would be able to mingle with the final five to six candidates.

"I do feel that an informal interaction, may be not necessarily to the extent of a reception dinner, but I think we should get them in a more informal, more relaxed [environment]," said council member Felicie Simmons. "I think we'd get a better feel of who they really are."

"What I have in my head when I think of that is an ice cream social event, some event that [everyone] could mingle at," added council member Ethan Anderson.

Council member Bill Cline brought up the idea of using the library, and council member Jose Zacarias concurred later in the discussion, since use of the facility would be free for the city.

No final decisions were made on the schedule, only a general agreement to ensure community and council involvement when the time comes to choose the next city manager.

"We can change this if for some reason the variables change or the circumstances change, this is just to kind of give us a working idea of how we're going to run our process," said Mayor Hartman.

In other news:

- Council member Simmons brought to the council's attention the concerns of some WL residents regarding a vacant lot on East Fourth Street, where a home burned down last year.

"I know that half of it has been fenced, the back half has not, or a temporary fence that tends to fall down frequently," she said. "I know there has been some concerns with kids going over there, small children, safety issues."

The property has been cited by the city before, but it will look into it this following week.

- In final comments Mayor Hartman brought up the noise ordinance, which will be reapproved by the council at a later date once the wording has been worked out.

"The noise ordinance that we've been working on, the city attorney does have it," said Mayor Hartman. "There's some wording that he wasn't quite sure about or happy about that he wanted to take some additional time looking at that… that [noise ordinance] should be coming back soon to council."

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