Letter to the editor for Friday, Aug. 4, 2017
August 3, 2017
Mind over matter
The Board of Douglas County Commissioners now has a triple standard for senior staff selection.
At least one highly qualified applicant received a "Dear Jane" email instead of an interview during the Chief Financial Officer selection process earlier this year, a process that appeared to be only theoretically open to outside applicants. With details kept secret, the interim County Manager Larry Werner's hand-picked candidate was presented to the Board of County Commissioners whom a majority of four dutifully voted to confirm.
By contrast, in the July 26 Record Courier "Assistant County Manager interviews are set for August 7", eight finalists will face a panel of elected officials, employee representatives (read union bosses), department directors, and leadership from neighboring counties. The finalists will then attend a reception open to the public. Then – guess what – a final interview with contract temp interim County Manager Larry Werner.
Contrast that with what happened at the July 20 Lake Board of County Commissioners meeting. Four commissioners announced their intent to extend interim County Manager Larry Werner's contract through December 2018, including a plump bonus to Mr. Werner. When Commissioner Nelson objected on the grounds that this procedure would circumvent the normal competitive county manager selection process, including public input, Commissioner Thaler informed him that the only selection process for the county manager that counted was getting a majority vote on the BOCC, period.
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As was pointed out at the July 20 BOCC meeting, Mr. Werner was originally retained to provide the BOCC time to hire a county manager, which never happened. Instead the BOCC minus Commissioner Nelson plans to use the contract process to step around the traditional competitive process and public input, as has been done in the past.
Only Commissioner Nelson has any interest in looking out for Douglas County's voters. Our other four commissioners have decided that the proper selection process for critical senior staff position is whatever they say it is, rather like Humpty-Dumpty in "Through the Looking Glass".
It's a case of mind over matter: they don't mind and you don't matter.