City Manager search process clarified

Interviews will be done March 20


Details were clarified about the West Liberty city manager application process during the city council meeting Tuesday, March 7.

Mayor Ethan Anderson spoke about the interviewing process and what some of the confusion was surrounding it.

“We didn’t have the language quite right at our last council meeting,” Anderson said. “And so when you read it in the newspaper or watch the video, the way we talked about it wasn’t quite right.”

Anderson said he was a little embarrassed by it but the city council was going working through the process.

“We had talked about it in terms of posting internally only like the only applicants would have to be current employees of the City of West Liberty,” he added.

The city attorney told Anderson the city manager opening should be posted publicly so anyone could apply but have a limited application process. The job opening has been posted on the city’s website and on the bulletin board at city hall, Anderson said. Anyone could apply for the job through 5 p.m., Thursday, March 9. The city’s only requirement was to have the position posted publicly for 10 days.

“That you have met your required publication,” City Clerk Lee Geertz added.

Mayor Pro-tem Cara McFerren and Anderson will go through the applications and schedule interviews, Anderson said.

Anderson asked city council how much time they would like to have March 20 for interviews.

Deputy City Clerk Shari Hoffert said that would depend on how many applicants Anderson and McFerren decide to schedule for interviews. She also reminded Anderson city council members weren’t available until after 3:30 p.m. that day.

“The last time the city went through this process they did all the interviews in one day,” Anderson said. “It’s certainly feasible to do that.”

Hoffert said this was correct. Internal candidates would be interviewed first and then branch out from there.

“The posting requirements are what we are focusing on now,” Hoffert added. “You guys did motion to focus on the internal but we had to meet all the requirements.”

McFerren asked if she understood correctly the city council could still interview applicants from the general public.

Both Hoffert and Anderson said McFerren this was correct.

“The only thing that we’re required to do is figure out what we want for a contract – like the details,” McFerren said.

City councilmember Dana Dominguez said she thought McFerren was talking about the interview process.

“Well, that is a given because we already have that format in place,” McFerren said. “We just have to ask the same questions it is.”

“You’re talking about the interview process?” Hoffert asked McFerren.

“I’m talking about we as a city council need to make sure that we know what we want in a candidate so we know what we want to offer that candidate,” McFerren said.

The city already has an ordinance saying the city manager has to live within so many miles of West Liberty, she added. She was more concerned about what they would be offering for the pay and if they were going to pay for relocation costs.

“You do have the ability to make a decision that night,” Hoffert told McFerren.

The city council could also wait to make a decision during the regular city council meeting Tuesday, March 21, if they need to think about this, Hoffert added.

Anderson told city council Hoffert has done a lot of research on what other communities like West Liberty offered their city managers. He said he would send that information to everyone.

The city council can make a decision when they’re discussing the applicants in a closed session but can make the decision when they go into a public meeting, McFerren said.

Anderson told city council to keep in mind if they weren’t satisfied with the applicants they could always hire a consultant to further the search for a new city manager.

The city council approved having a special city council meeting Monday, March 20, to interview applicants for the city manager position. At the time of publication, the time and place of the meeting wasn’t set yet.