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10.17.06 -- REPORT: Council begins search for town clerk

By CHER PHILLIPS

Click to download an audio file: Oct. 17 Workshop meeting (windows media file, 30.7 mb)


The McIntosh Town Council met Tuesday night to discuss hiring practices and procedures for hiring a new town clerk.

During a two-hour workshop meeting, council members discussed the town clerk's job description, salary scale, as well a number of questions they intend to ask applicants in two rounds of interviews. Councilman Frank Ciotti prepared a list of duties of a town clerk to go with a list Councilwoman Eva Jo Callahan had asked Town Clerk Julie Musselman to prepare. Callahan also brought a list of questions she'd like to see asked of the candidates.

The council members sifted through around 10 resumes selecting six candidates they would like to meet for a first interview. After a first interview, they will determine which candidates they will choose to interview for a final round. One of the strong characteristics the council looked for was experience in government work, and they veered away from "job hoppers" -- candidates who did not stay long in jobs.

Since attorneys Scott Walker and Alison Folino are unavailable this week, Councilman Howard Walkup will call the Ethics Committee to research proper search practices, in particular selection decisions the council can make during a search. After Walkup is able to nail down the proper procedures for the town's search for a new town clerk, Ciotti will contact the six candidates and arrange for an interview in what they except to be a council meeting.

One particular point in question Walkup is researching is whether future meetings will be subject to the Sunshine Law. The McIntosh town charter says that the council shall appoint a town clerk, and the council is a public board whose meetings are fully subject to the Sunshine Law.

While this reporter encouraged council to seek an official call on whether the town clerk search would be public, I also informed the council that I will require they provide me, and thereby McIntosh residents, with the statutory exemption should it be determined that future meetings regarding this search be closed.

posted by Cher @ 10:24 PM,

9 Comments:

At   October 18, 2006 2:15 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I guess no atheists, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Muslim or other non-Christian should apply for the town clerk position. Evidently, a person’s religious affiliation/belief is a factor in the selection process (at least for one council member)…..and I though I lived in a somewhat progressive/accepting town. Believe it or not, we do have atheists living in this town. I would hope this only disqualifies them from applying for the town clerk job and doesn’t prevent them from living here.

 
At   October 18, 2006 2:44 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Oh, I don't think they'd kick you out of town for being atheist but you might have to move down by us to the other side of the tracks in the fish camp or to the Upper West Side...

Just kidding. But finding this mindset in town actually surprises you? Come on, our government meetings begin with the Lord's Prayer. (Doesn't the chanting sound freaky on the audio files?) I'm not knocking it. I'd rather see the codes regarding the CE board and the BOA changed before anything else.

Seriously, though, open meetings are vital to the search for a town clerk. I was the only person at that meeting last night who was not on the council or the mayor.

 
At   October 19, 2006 10:33 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Now that the statement has been made in an open meeting, the town is in big do-do if they have an atheist apply and then not hired - reguardless of their qualifications. Even if the person does not disclose it at the interview - the background check statement opens the litigation door. It could be a long and very expensive lawsuit. Why cant our elected officials do a little bit of homework PRIOR to a meeting about legal issues surrounding the matters at hand. Howard has again put us in harms way for more legal fees.

 
At   October 19, 2006 10:59 AM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

I think the background check they were talking about was a criminal background check that they would get a signature for beforehand since the clerk's position is bonded. Religion isn't included in that.

As for Howard wanting to know the person's religious leanings, Eva Jo and Frank explained to Howard there were things he could and couldn't ask. We'll see where it goes from here.

If you think about it, keeping these meetings public for the rest of the search actually protects the town. Open meeting allow everyone access to the decision making process, a protection for the town, the council and the residents that the search is handled correctly.

 
At   October 19, 2006 11:38 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I think that Howard was just saying that he wished he knew the religious backgrounds of the people applying for the town jobs. Thats just Howard and we all know where he stands. However, I do think that he knows that he really cannot ask these things.

I think that the council will be able to get a good feeling about where these people stand on issues by meeting with them for interviews. I know that the council devised a list of questions that will be asked to each canidate and then they will go there. Actually, I believe that they have really thought this out and made some good decisions as to who to interview and what kind of questions to ask. They have done their planning and now its time to move on to the interviews. So, we will just have to see what happens then.

Thoughtfully,
Lacy

 
At   October 19, 2006 12:21 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

Very true - the open meetings are a good idea. Thank for pushing for that point. My point was resting on the very high attorney bills we have now - no use in starting up the money printing press for attorney Walker. Agreed - thanks Lacy, we will see, I think that Eva Jo, Lee and others will keep us on line and out of harms way... Once again, reality sets in, but fears persist.

 
At   October 19, 2006 1:02 PM     ,    Blogger Cher    said...

Point taken on the attorney's fees. If, for some mad reason, this search proceeds in a discriminatory manner, we'll know it and raise Cain. (Pun intended.) I agree with Lacy, let's see what happens.

 
At   October 19, 2006 3:07 PM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I agree with Lacy point is to stop throughing stones at council.

 
At   October 20, 2006 11:28 AM     ,    Anonymous Anonymous    said...

I feel that nothing negative about our town or it's people needs to go on here anymore.
Fred DelRusso

 

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Editor and Publisher:

I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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