The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors approved a short list of candidates for district manager last week, as well as a format for interviews planned for a special meeting before its Wednesday, Jan. 24 regular meeting.
At the Dec. 20 meeting, human relations attorney Lara Donlon asked board members to select candidates from a list of 10 applicants who had responded to a request for qualifications.
“What we’re hoping the board will do is make selections from the résumés that were submitted providing their interest in the district manager position so that we can move forward to talk about scheduling an interview process, because we’ve had some time without a regular, full-time district manager,” Donlon said, cautioning supervisors not to refer to candidates by name. “Be mindful that this is a public process and these individuals may have jobs elsewhere.”
Donlon went on to suggest a process where each supervisor recommends candidates.
“What we have done in past selection processes was any individual who received two supervisors who wanted to conduct an interview would move forward,” she said. “If that sounds like the process you want to follow for the résumé selection, we can do that.”
Donlon added that Supervisor Gary Dunkley, who was not at the Dec. 20 meeting, had indicated who he would like to schedule for interviews. She asked if they should be included, but supervisors rejected that.
“My suggestion is that he should have been here, knowing that this was on the agenda,” ITID President Betty Argue said. “As long as we have a majority agree to that, we need to move forward, and more than likely, the ones that he is interested in are on the list anyway.”
Donlon also suggested interview formats.
“There are a couple of options for you to consider,” she said. “First and foremost, with the selection of résumés… those who have been selected who have at least two of you requesting an interview, I would like authority to go ahead… and issue a letter to those who have been selected to give them information about the interview.”
She described it as a standard form that provides additional information about the position and the process.
Argue said the salary is open at this point, although a certain range had been discussed and was up for negotiation. “I would be hesitant to put the salary range that’s currently on this list, because when you look at that, there’s some serious discrepancies in that range,” she said.
Donlon said the salary range could be omitted from the letter because it could be changed and was negotiable.
During the last selection process, a formal board interview was called where all the candidates were called and the board asked questions, although other formats were available.
She suggested a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 to conduct interviews. The meeting would be advertised, so the public could attend and make comments on the selection, although they would not interview the candidates themselves.
Donlon and supervisors agreed that the regular meeting would probably begin later than the usual 6:30 p.m.
Operations & Maintenance Director Rob Robinson, who has been serving as acting district manager, initially applied for the position but withdrew his application. Argue said she would like to see him continue with manager training.
“He is kind of the next person besides the district manager in terms of knowing the district,” she said. “I would like to see Rob continue in training as a certified district manager. I think that the training is useful regardless of whether or not you’re actually in the district manager position.”
After counting supervisors’ selections, Donlon said four individuals had received two or more votes: Michael Brillhart, Christopher Quirk, William Riebe and Eve Walker-Alsdorf.
“Board members should each think about some questions to ask each candidate before the next meeting,” she said, explaining that at the last interview, supervisors went down the line asking one question each until three questions were asked by each supervisor.
“I would come up with more than three questions, because I’m sure a lot of you will have similar questions,” she said.
Argue pointed out that supervisors should ask the same questions of each candidate, and Donlon agreed.
“That’s the idea, to keep the questions consistent for each candidate,” she said, adding that candidates are allowed to stay in the same room due to public records law. “This is a public meeting. However, many of them offer professional courtesy and will step into the lobby area where we set up chairs for those who chose to do that.”