City Hall to begin interviews this week

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 11, 2003

nterviews for city hall begin this week.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said that the administrative committee had narrowed the search for city clerk, treasurer and finance director down from 92 applicants to less than 10.

Numbers instead of names were read out Monday night.

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Names were not mentioned, Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin said, because some applicants could lose their job if their employers knew they had applied.

Crenshaw said that the council was ready to set up interviews and suggested they start at 3 p.m. Thursday. Each one would last 30 minutes.

President George Evans said that Personnel Director Valeria Jones would do background checks on the applicants and set up the interviews. He also suggested interviews occur on both Thursday and Friday.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said he wanted the council to be more specific about its hiring timetable.

Crenshaw said that the council could have a work session or called meeting to continue the process.

Perkins said he wanted the meeting on Monday. &uot;You have to keep in mind we’re short-handed,&uot; he said.

Crenshaw, though, suggested Tuesday, Feb. 18. Franklin said that the council could meet at 3 p.m. for a work session and 5 p.m. for a called council meeting for the purpose of filling the open positions.

After a hand vote the motion passed.

Evans then said that he still didn’t know where the city stood financially, and added that by law the city must have a clerk and treasurer.

Councilman Glenn Sexton asked when the council would receive the auditor’s report, but Crenshaw said the council might have to look outside of that report.

Perkins said he had yielded his authority on the matter of a finance director so that the council could make a decision.

He added that if no decision was made then both mayor and council would be held accountable.

Evans said that whoever was hired must be able to do the job, and couldn’t take months to learn the ropes. Councilwoman Nancy Sewell agreed, saying that she didn’t want to be part of the job training.

Crenshaw said that she didn’t want the positions to consume anyone, and that the job responsibilities need to be reasonable.

Assistant Treasurer /Assistant City Clerk Sequita Oliver was capable of learning the job, Crenshaw added, but she didn’t want to set anyone up in a position to fail.

Franklin then said that the council’s discussion was bordering on an executive session.

In other matters the council:

Sewell asked what impact the position would have on the budget that council members recently gave 38 percent of their discretionary funds to balance, and Perkins said it would be 16 percent.

Sewell then asked if positions could be combined. &uot;I believe we’re going to have to maximize our current staff,&uot; she said.

Perkins, though, said that he wouldn’t be asking for the position if it wasn’t critical.

The issue of an internal transfer will be reviewed by Perkins.

Franklin said that she didn’t have a problem with the project as long as no money was lost.

The council voted unanimously to move on the issue of stabilizing the house.

Councilman James Durry said that Councilman B.L. Tucker, whose ward the business is in, should poll people and get their views.

Evans said that the council had previously decided on that action.

The council voted eight to one with Tucker against allowing time for the business owner and Tucker to get feedback from residents.