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May 14, 2010

 

Rules panel firms up appointment process

Search committees would suggest candidates for 5 county positions appointed every 2 years

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

A panel revising the county’s Rules of Order has suggested search committees chaired by the personnel director select candidates for the legislative clerk and county attorney positions.
The county administrator would not sit on the search committees.
In addition, the panel has recommended creating three other separate search committees for the veteran’s service officer, county auditor and public defender positions.
The positions are all appointed at the biennial reorganization meeting of the Legislature.
An identical process would be followed for all five appointments. Each panel would have as members three legislators-elect chosen by the current Democrat legislators and three others chosen by the Republicans.
The Rules of Order review committee met Thursday.
Legislature Chairman Jack Williams (D-8th Ward) and Legislators John Troy (D-1st Ward) and Richard Bushnell (D-5th Ward) sat in on Thursday’s meeting.
Rules Committee Chair Jennifer Gofkowski (D-Homer) pushed for removing the administrator from the appointment process, saying the administrator should not be in the room when candidates are interviewed.
Legislators Ray Parker (D-2nd Ward), Dave Fuller (R-Cincinnatus, Taylor, Freetown and Willet) and Mike Park (R-Homer) are also members of the Rules Committee.
Gofkowski said if a candidate has a bad relationship with the administrator they might not answer questions honestly with the administrator present.
But Troy is concerned that leaving the administrator out of the selection process is a mistake.
“He is the only one who knows the full responsibilities of the clerk. You could have six new legislators with no understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the positions,” Troy said.
Gofkowski said the input of the administrator would still be considered because of another new provision the committee suggested Thursday: ensuring that yearly job performance evaluations are done on all employees who are up for appointment.
The Legislature chairman will be required to perform these evaluations yearly.
The provision came at the recommendation of Legislature Clerk Jeremy Boylan.
If routine performance evaluations are given, Boylan said, then the search committees could have performance indicators to rely on when deciding whether to hire a new candidate or recommend the incumbent be reappointed.
The search committee will be given these evaluations and any other letters of recommendation to consider when reviewing a candidate.
Gofkowski said a letter of recommendation from the county administrator would allow him to give his input in the selection.
The Rules of Order were last revised in October 2009, calling for the legislative clerk and county attorney to be selected by a bipartisan group consisting of legislators-elect and the county administrator and personnel officer.
The committee revising the rules recommended keeping the personnel officer on the committee to ensure legislators stay within the guidelines of Civil Service Law during interviews.
Search committees were formed for the auditor, public defender and veterans service officer because the newer legislators say they felt left out of the selection of these positions this year.
The committee also recommended the jobs be posted from Oct. 1 to 31.
The search committees would be formed immediately after elections so the panels have enough time to review and interview candidates to recommend to the Legislature for a vote at the reorganizational meeting the first Wednesday in January.
The search panels will decide whether to review new applicants after looking over performance evaluations and determining whether they want to reappoint the person in the position.
The committee will continue its review of the Rules of Order at its next meeting at 5 p.m. June 7.
Ultimately the Legislature will vote on the revised rules.

 

 

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