News

East seeks e-mails on manager search

City Councilor candidate Mike East has filed a public records request with the city for e-mails regarding the city manager selection process.

"I want to make sure the council is operating 100 percent through Waldron and Co., which has a $20,000 city contract in hand to manage the recruitment, vetting and selection process," East said July 27.

"I would be extremely upset if any councilor was stepping outside of the recruiting process, trying to self-recruit, cut a deal, or negotiate with any applicant on their own or promising anything outside of the defined recruitment process.

"The city has informed me that the review will be in late August."

The city hired Waldron and Co., a Seattle-based executive search firm, in November 2008 to search for a city manager after four members of the city council voted to terminate then-city manager Bill Elliott in May 2008.

East is running against Don Hall, a former councilor, for the open city council seat being vacated by Paul McHugh.

"Certainly by now, the community should expect some update to the process, certainly not names and bios, but where are we to date," East said.

A city manager search update was included in the city council's July 27 meeting packet but was not discussed.

The firm said short list of semifinalists was created from the more than 100 applications. These semifinalist interviews are scheduled to be finished Aug. 7.

East said after Monday's meeting that the written update addressed one of his concerns but not his concerns with the overall process.

Those concerns include what appears to be "a lack of transparency," he said.

"My concern is that when you have a publicized council majority at the helm, it's easy for a council member to think he or she can cut out the community and employee involvement during the evaluation of the city manager finalists," he said.

City Attorney Craig Ritchie said "We'll go through those using candidate names and such and then we have to decide what needs to be redacted.

"For instance we're not going to release candidate names but perhaps we can assign them numbers. We haven't begun the search yet so we don't know what's there," Ritchie said.



Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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