Michael Bobbitt: Notes from the Peanut Gallery (City’s Special Called meeting September 25th, 2014)

Mayor O’Geary requested a Special Called Meeting of the Henderson City Council to set forth a process for the appointment of a new city manager. Although the public was invited the public choose to ignore the invitation probably reserving their right to complain later

The Mayor gaveled the meeting to order at the stroke of noon. Following roll call the council members enjoyed a twenty minute repast of sandwiches, beverages and conversation contrary to normal city council procedures. The mayor first thanked the council members for taking time out of their busy day to meet on such short notice adding that the lunch was provided because of the importance of the meeting. Sadly, the audio team failed to confirm the recording equipment was working so there is no audio record of the good natured banter among the council members or the meeting itself.

Mayor’s Statement

Mayor O’Geary, read from a prepared statement that included the outline of a proposed process for seeking a new city manager. The mayor’s remarks encouraged a deliberative process that could take six to nine months to complete. The mayor’s statement includes praise for the accomplishments of the past seven years specifically recognizing the implementation of Roles and Responsibilities Agreement and the establishment of a dynamic strategic plan. The mayor suggested the council follow the same process developed and used seven years ago when seeking an new city manager.

You may download the prepared statement here:  Mayor’s Special Called Meeting Statement


Concluding his statement the mayor turned, as he normally does, to the council members for their input. Councilmember Rainey was first to speak saying the process seven years ago resulted in a successful hiring and it should be repeated. Councilmember Kearney suggested the council use the services The Management and Personnel Services Group to facilitate and guide in the selection and recruitment process. The mayor agreed with his suggestion and assured Councilmember Kearny a qualified temporary city manager could be hired until the new city manager is selected. Councilmember Coffey side tracked the whole discussion with her concern that the new city manager should have ‘a vested’ interest in the community. Her meaning of “vested” means owning property within Henderson and paying taxes. I guess she does not understand that renters pay the owner’s property taxes through their rental rate without the benefit of Federal and State tax exemptions. Councilmember Peace-Jenkins asked which was more important the candidates history or living in Henderson. Councilmember Coffey said being vested is superior to the candidate’s history and successes. Councilmember Daeke brought the discussion back to the mayor’s objective, following the same process used seven years ago. Councilmember Inscoe requested the mayor seek three names from the pool of temporary managers for the council to choose one who will serve as temporary city manager while the council searches for a new Mr. Griffin.


The consensus of the city council members was to follow the process used seven years ago. Before adjournment the mayor confirmed that he had everyone’s email address and will use 21st century technology to facilitate swift communications and avoid wasting council members time during the early phased of the process.


How is it possible the city and the county governments of this one small rural county have such diverse processes for doing the same thing, hiring a new manager? The county’s approach is to use the ‘good ole boy’ method to swiftly recruit a new manger based entirely criteria written by one of their own. The city’s approach is to follow a deliberative unrushed process engaging a proven outside resources to facilitate and guide the process from criteria setting through recruiting, and finally selecting the right candidate.