City needs to take time filling positions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2003

So far, the Selma City Council and the mayor have worked in an orderly fashion to fill the vacant finance positions within the city.

There have been few shouting matches and hard-line politics that have tainted past hires. It’s been pretty straightforward so far.

Selma city government hasn’t traveled the rocky path it did when hiring a police chief and appointing top fire department personnel. Of course, we are just beginning.

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While we feel the politics of making these hires will surface, the most important issue is the gaping hole that exists in our city government right now. The city of Selma is without a finance director, city clerk and treasurer.

This is akin to a football team being without a wide receiver, tight end and running back.

Running a city the size of Selma without key personnel for a lengthy period of time is dangerous. Even with finance employees in place, the city could not pass a budget on time last fall. What would happen if it were late summer and the city was working on its annual budget?

Council should act swiftly to fill these positions. The longer the vacancies exist the more trouble the new hires will run into after starting the jobs.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Mayor James Perkins Jr. pressed the council on a timetable to make the hires, noting that the city is short-handed.

Another danger that relates to being so short-handed is that the city will make hires too quickly and select personnel who are not qualified.

The hiring process is tricky enough when an employer is dealing from a position of strength. The city of Selma, with three key vacancies, is not in a position of strength. The city needs to make hires fairly quickly and that will increase the likelihood of a bad hire.

Those responsible for making the hires need to devote much time to the process right now. Swift and thorough action now may prevent big problems down the line.