No Mayor or Elected Official Should Ever Be in Charge of Hiring/Firing
(A municipality only benefits when the best/most qualified candidates are hired)
I am writing to share my thoughts about how city employees, safety and non-safety, should be hired, and why everything should go through an HR department and the particular city department, not the mayor, council, or any appointee of either.
There is no requirement that any elected official be trained in HR/Personnel/City Management or Business. A municipality runs as well as its employees are qualified to run it. No mayor or elected official, even if they have a background in some of the above, has the qualifications to hire every department head. For example, how does a mayor know who would make the best police chief or fire chief if they have never done either job? A police or fire chief taking quick, decisive action in emergencies is not only essential, those decisions could make the difference between life or death for his/her police officers/firefighters.
Even non-emergency services can affect emergency services down the road. One example could be the building official. If the building official and code enforcement are not doing their job, whether due to their own incompetence or being told by a mayor that they must do things a certain way, firefighters and police can be injured or killed when they end up at an incident where a building with multiple code violations has been allowed to exist without consequences.
Hiring can be based on who the particular mayor likes or is related to, which is a recipe for disaster. Even if a mayor tries not to be biased in any way, at the end of the day, he/she is most likely not qualified to make the determination. The citizens deserve the best qualified person they can get.
Now, let’s talk about how a department head SHOULD be hired. Let’s say Bob the Building Official retires or moves on to another city/town and an opening comes up. The position should be advertised far and wide, and applications gathered. Those with minimum qualifications should be given a first interview. That interview panel should consist of a person from HR, A Building Official from a nearby city, A member of the community (to ask questions and give possible scenarios, they would give their opinion but not have a vote in the process), and possibly a building inspector or code enforcement officer.
How should a building inspector, for example, be hired? Same general idea, except they interview with a person from HR, the building official, a member of the community, and perhaps a current building inspector.
I will be bluntly honest and say I don’t know which governing body can change this. But you can bet a week’s pay I will find out.
The citizens of any municipality deserve the best, most qualified person for every city position. There should never be politics/personal bias in this process.
City Council At-Large