City interviews remain uncertain

By Seth Schmidt

It’s still unknown when interviews will begin for a new Tracy City Administrator. Who will be interviewed is also unknown.

Interim City Administrator Shane Daniels told the city council Monday that he had not received any recent updates from the consultant the city has hired to screen applicants and recommend finalists to interview.  Two weeks earlier, at their March 12 meeting, council members expressed the hope that Wendell Sande would present finalist recommendations during the week of March 19, so that by March 26, they could set a date for interviews to begin. Mayor Pam Cooreman said Sande informed her two weeks ago that he had three viable candidates and asked whether she wanted him to continue to advertise for more applicants. The mayor said she had told Sande to “stop the advertising.”

Councilman Tony Peterson said that it was his understanding that the application process remained open “until the position was filled.”  Peterson said it is possible that some applicants will have already accepted other positions by the time the city begins interviews.

“We aren’t the only city looking for an administrator,” Peterson said.

Council members instructed Daniels to make a concerted effort to reach Sande “and see where we are at.”

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On March 12, the council decided to interview finalists in a non-public session, with all five council members present. However, Daniels told the council Monday, that his research indicated that the finalist interviews needed to be made in a public session.  Councilman Tony Peterson noted that public interviews were done before the full council when Roger Gorius and Mike Votca were hired, but that the council had adjourned to a private session to decide who to offer the position to.

Cooreman wondered whether it would be helpful for the council to see the applications of candidates that Sande had rejected as finalists.  “Maybe he is looking at something different from what we are.”

Peterson disagreed, saying the council had decided to hire a professional to screen the applications based on the criteria and priorities they had set.

“Why would we want to second guess the guy that we hired?” Peterson asked.  A council request to see the rejected candidates, he said, “would be backpedaling.”

Daniels has been serving as interim city administrator since the September resignation of Madonna Peterson.