Commission considers appointment process
The Morgan County Commission considered two different drafts of procedures for county volunteer board appointments and reappointments at their August 24 meeting.
Commissioners Glen Stotler and Tommy Swaim both expressed concern about the interviewing process for the positions.
The procedure drafts at present cover publicizing available board positions in the local newspaper, date-stamping application forms of interested applicants, notifying applicants to see if they are still interested in serving and reviewing all applicants for a position.
Applicants would be selected for interviews and interviews would be held in open session. The commission would then fill the board vacancy.
For reappointments, staff would check with the volunteer board member to see if they were still interested in serving. The commission would review their attendance and past activity on the board. They would then determine if they would be reappointed or replaced.
The commission discussed combining a couple procedural steps and narrowing down the field of candidates before calling people to see if they were still interested. That way people wouldn't get the false impression they were in the running for the position, said Hutchinson.
Interviews may not be necessary
Stotler didn't feel an interview may be necessary if all three commissioners were comfortable with the applicant that was chosen. Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson felt that they should bring in the applicants even if the commissioners knew them so the public could meet them.
Stotler cautioned about the application process for a volunteer position becoming an interrogation by the public. He and Swaim were afraid of what could turn into.
"I think it's going to scare people off," said Swaim of potential board candidates.
Hutchinson said that people she has talked to have no problems with coming in and being interviewed for board positions. She said that she understood from Planning Commission president Jack Soronen that board candidates had come in before to talk with them.
"I'm not talking about interrogating them," said Hutchinson.
They asked Hutchinson if this would be a public discussion and she said no. The commissioners would be asking the questions with the public present.
Swaim said that volunteer board members should be fair, open-minded and to not have an agenda. Hutchinson said that was what she wanted.
Hutchinson said she only wanted to ask people non-political questions like what do you expect from serving in this position, why do you want to serve and do you have an agenda.
Stotler thought they had to be careful that
the process was not just being done for the sake
of doing it. Very seldom was there more than
one candidate for a board position, he said.
Hutchinson said she was a new commis-
sioner and not originally from the county
and wouldn't know most of the county board
candidates. She felt as long as she was in office that she would want to meet them.
Hutchinson stressed that the commission had to conduct their business in public. She said she didn't want to be in the position as she had been before where a board appointment was just sprung on her.
Not opposed, but some concerns
Stotler said he was not opposed to the interviews, but that he just had concerns. If only one candidate was being considered, he felt the person shouldn't be interviewed unless the commission feels the need to bring them in.
The commission is considering wording in
the procedures that allows for interviewing a potential board candidate if one commissioner requests it. Hutchinson was okay with that compromise as long as only one commissioner needed to make the request and not two commissioners.
They also decided to reword the term "interview" in the draft and instead say that they would bring the candidate in to meet with the commissioners and discuss the position. The commissioners felt the word "interview" was a little imposing.
The draft of county board appointment procedures will be reworked and will be discussed at the next county commission meeting on September 7.