Removing the interim tag from the city manager and city clerk will depend on which councilman holds sway.
In a special meeting Oct. 8, there appeared to be at least three different schools of thought among the four commissioners in attendance.
Mayor Russ Owen was absent.
Commissioner Jake Sachs made his position known early in the meeting. “If it was our will tonight to draw up a firm contract for either of the positions, for me personally, I’m not ready,” he said. “Our interim city manager still has through December for his interim period. I would like to use that time to continue appraisal of him.”
Commissioner Sachs also made reference to opening up the search to at least look at who else may be interested.
When pressed by Commissioner Jason McGuirk to clarify his intent moving forward with filling the positions, Commissioner Sachs said, “Let me try to take it from clear as mud to gin clear. I think it only proper that we advertise these positions. We do for most, probably all, other positions in the city.”
Commissioner Michael Kolody said he would prefer the commission do formal performance evaluations for Acting City Manager Khalid Resheidat and Acting City Clerk Kelly McQuillen before making any hiring decisions.
“I do not want to drag this out,” he said. “If we decide to go ahead with some type of performance evaluation, I would like to see us finish it and have it for our next meeting so we can carry this discussion forward.”
Commissioner McGuirk stated he believed it was time to make the positions permanent. “I would like to move forward on locking down two interim employees who I think are very solid,” he said.
Vice Mayor Randy Hartman spoke last, appearing to direct his comments to Commissioner Sachs.
“It has been almost nine months since we appointed Khalid initially as interim,” Vice Mayor Hartman said. “So if you had any intentions on going outside or doing a search, I think the appropriate time to discuss that would have been during the budget process. Because there’s going to be an expense involved in that. And why in the world would we drag this out, almost eight or 10 months. If we wait until January, it will be a year before we would have decided that. That should have been done at an earlier process then now.”
But a review of the record showed Vice Mayor Hartman was off with his timeline. Evidence from meeting minutes supports Commissioner Sachs’ stance to wait until December, at least for the city manager position.
On May 14, the city commission approved the separation agreement with then City Manager Pam Brangaccio. At that same meeting, Mr. Resheidat was appointed interim manager.
The following meeting, May 28, the commission directed the city attorney to draw up a contract for the interim period. They stipulated that the interim contract would be for a six-month period and at the end of that time, they would decide whether to offer the city manager position to Mr. Resheidat or open it up for applications.
At the June 11 commission meeting, the city attorney presented the contract and explained it provided for an evaluation after six months at the Dec. 10 commission meeting. Commissioners unanimously approved that contract.
Although the official record would seem to support waiting until Dec. 10, the commission decided otherwise.
With a vote of 3-1, the commission approved of moving forward by individually preparing evaluations for both the city manager and city clerk for discussion at the next commission meeting. It was agreed they could each use whatever evaluation form would best suit their needs for this one time, and then agreeing on a uniform evaluation form no later than April 1 to be used for future evaluations. Commissioner Sachs cast the opposing vote.
The commission also approved a motion directing the mayor to begin contract negotiations with both interim employees as soon as possible and to consider the evaluations that will be discussed at the next commission meeting. That vote was also 3-1, with Commissioner Sachs dissenting.