Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life of Jason Interviews City Manager Candidates

Jason at Life Of Jason blog is doing email interviews with the City Manager candidates. He has two of them up so far. Good questions and interesting responses.

Excerpts, spotlighting one of the questions he posed to the candidates, with links to the first two email interviews:

Q & A: City Manager Candidate Greg Burris

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

I believe in the chain of command. While I consider myself accessible to the University community in my current position, I try to direct complaints to the lowest level in the organization able to solve the problem. I can’t solve all of the University’s problems myself . . . and if selected to be the City Manager, I won’t be able to personally solve all of the City’s problems, either.

My operating style tends to be transparent in the delivery of the solution, but the staff needs to be able to collect data, evaluate options, and determine the best points along the way to collect public input. I’m a big proponent of citizen advisory groups. In effect, I believe most citizens want the City to run like an efficient service business, and a careful balance must be achieved between operating efficiently and having to explain everything you’re doing to someone looking over your shoulder.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, I invite anyone to contact members of the University that they know and ask them about me. Ask what type of City Manager I would make. Most members of the University community will have an opinion about me, whether positive or negative.*

Q & A : City Manager Candidate Kent A. Myers

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

First of all, I think that it is important that my office create an environment of full accessibility to the public and I want all citizens to feel welcome and comfortable contacting or visiting my office at any time. I have always tried to set a positive example for the entire city organization with regard to public accessibility. I practice an “open door” policy in dealing with the public. I make it a practice to respond to phone calls, e-mails and letters on a timely basis. In contacting my office, I want to hear citizen concerns and complaints but I also want to hear their ideas and suggestions on how the city can progress and do our jobs better.

I have found that the public often times does not want to stop by City Hall to voice their concerns or offer their input. Therefore, in order to be effective in dealing with the public and get them involved with their city government, I have to get out of my office on a regular basis. If I am hired for the City Manager position in Springfield, you will see me out in the community attending meetings and special events and getting involved in a number of civic and professional organizations. In Hot Springs, for example, I have used community coffees and brown bag lunches as efforts to reach out to the community. I want to stay in touch with the needs and interests of the community in any way that I can.

Finally, I commit to working with the Public Information Officer to communicate to the public about any important activity or project involving their city government. I currently utilize such things as monthly radio shows, bi-monthly cable television programs, quarterly citizen newsletter and other ways to get our message out and be as transparent as possible.*

Update: Jason @ Life Of Jason has added Larry Stevens answers to his email interview questions:

Q & A : City Manager Candidate Larry Stevens

LoJ Question:

4. How would you make your office accessible to the public and transparent on decision making?

Transparency and openess is an emphasis of our city government in Edmond. About five years I created a seperate small department to coordinate and enhance our communication with the citizens we exist to serve. Extensive communication in a variety of forms would be a priority.*

Read more.

*"The author (Jason) gives permission for electronic, print or broadcast media to use information from any posting ONLY if a link to this blog site is provided and printed identification of the location of the information provided or the full web address of the site, www.lifeofjason.com, is mentioned as the source of the information."


Anonymous said...

Does only having three City Manager candidates coming to town for a $25,000 fee seem a little thin?

Why not bump it up to 5 or 6 and then have a second round of interviews if needed?

As one could be a hand-picked local, it could already be a done deal/ selection.

There should be no reason that they cannot interview at least five.


Jackie Melton said...

Hi anon,

I would refer you to the most recent issue of CFP. Mert Seaton has an article on the Council's selection of three finalists for the City Manager position. Council began by interviewing eight candidates.


"The finalists came from a group of candidates presented by Arcus Public, the search firm hired by the city to help with the city manager search process. During the more than four hour meeting on July 21, eight candidates were narrowed down to the three finalists.

"'We spent four and a half hours going through them without a break, and the air conditioning went off half way through the process,' said Gary Dever, mayor pro tem and co-chair of the city manager search committee...."

You can read the entire article at www.cfpmidweek.com or pick up an issue at your favorite CFP news stand.

Jackie Melton said...

...oops, Deaver, not Dever! Heh.