It has been 17 years and 284 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
On August 8, 2015 I posted a blog entitled The Perfect City Manager. In it I offered some qualities that the city council should consider in hiring Glendale’s next city manager:
- Responsiveness to all
- Respect for all
- Practices open government
- Respects and values all employees
- Conservative fiscal philosophy
- Previous city manager experience
- Intelligence and adaptability
- Willingness to embrace the entire community
- No favoritism practiced
Very recently the 5 finalists for the city manager’s position were announced and the city council is scheduled to interview them in an executive session on October 15, 2015:
- David Garcia, City Manager, Coachella, CA
- Craig Malin, former City Administrator, Davenport, IA
- Kevin Phelps, Deputy County Executive, Pierce County, WA
- John Pombier, Assistant City Manager, Mesa, AZ
- Susan Thorpe, Assistant City Manager, Corpus Christi, TX
They sound impressive, don’t they? That is until one does some basic internet research on them by simply typing in their names. For any that do decide to do their own research, I would advise that you search more than just the first page of articles that come up associated with their names. In my cursory search I found:
David Garcia was fired as city manager in Chula Vista, CA in 2008 forlooking at photos of women on his office computer. Apparently there were complaints from 3 employees. Garcia also underwent counseling allegedly after threatening one employee.
Craig Malin on June 18, 2015 was fired by the city’s mayor. Apparently he and city attorney went rogue and developed city policy without input of mayor and council potentially costing city big bucks for a city project.
PLEASE NOTE: Since this posting I have received an email from Mr. Malin that says in part, ” Your blog states that I was fired on June 18 by Davenport’s Mayor. That is not true…after setting records for tenure and performance in Davenport, I simply moved on.” Here is a link to Mr. Malin’s website: http://www.craigmalin.info/. A recent news article found on the web stated that Mayor Gluba had fired Malin. Even though the article specifically used the word “fired” perhaps a better nuanced description would be that Mr. Malin left under a cloud. Here is a story from the Quad-City Times: http://qctimes.com/news/local/government-and-politics/i-will-never-resign-craig-malin-says/article_e0f24403-646d-570e-8669-48c4bddeaa78.html . The news article said in part, “The issue of communicating details over a casino development was the reason Gluba said he asked Malin to resign last week. Gluba says Malin failed to disclose to aldermen all pertinent details of the city-funded Elmore extension project, including that the city would pay for site grading on the casino’s property.” Please refer to this link as well: http://www.qconline.com/news/local/malin-leaving-with-k-package-gluba-says-it-s-time/article_df6a8ae0-5ef2-5867-9ac6-73a2294d08a3.html . Legally Mr. Malin was not fired but rather agreed to resign.
Kevin Phelps was one of two finalists for city manager of Lakewood Co. He seemed to have had support of 4 councilmembers informally. But then something happened. Apparently the council met a second time with the community panels that had also interviewed the finalists and everything seemingly changed and Phelps was not selected.
John Pombier was hired as a Deputy City Manager in Mesa. He oversaw solid waste, facilities maintenance, human resources and public safety. Prior to that he has been an attorney all of his professional career, lastly as Chief Prosecutor in Mesa. His long, professional background is primarily legal, not city managerial (only 4 years) and the departments (solid waste, facilities maintenance, human resources and public safety) he was tasked to administer are low profile requiring little interaction with the public. He has not been tested in what is, essentially, a highly political job.
Susan Thorpe seems to have bounced around in Texas serving in various positions in Texas communities typically for 3 to 4 years until she landed in Peoria where she served as Deputy City Manager for 7 years. She has been an Assistant City Manager in Corpus Christi since January of 2013. She seems to have stayed in a majority of her positions for relatively short periods of time.
Slavin Management Consultants seems to have performed quite poorly in this recruitment process. These candidates probably should not have been presented at all in light of their past histories or limited experience or histories of transient positions. None of them seem to possess the strong qualities needed to become the next city manager of Glendale. I suspect there are many people who are disappointed with the results considering the amount of time and resources expended.
It appears to be time to start over as horrendous as the idea sounds. Council should hire a different consultant with the expectation of a stronger crop of candidates. Yes, it means the process will take longer but Glendale merits no less than a top notch city manager. It seems as if this crop of candidates, wonderful people all, will not fill the bill.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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