Summerside City councillor Jeff Sullivan wants all councillors to interview the three candidates for the position of chief administrative officer.
SUMMERSIDE – Members of city council here want changes to the procedures surrounding the hiring of a new chief administrative officer.
The issue came to a head Monday night during a report from Coun. Peter Holman, chairman of the city’s human resources committee.
City council contracted an independent firm to interview candidates for the position and make recommendations to council.
Holman said there are three candidates in the running and that the initial interviews were being set up.
Coun. Jeff Sullivan asked if the interviews were going to be conducted by the independent firm.
Holman said they were not.
“They’re being conducted by a hiring committee within the city as well as the outside group,” Holman said.
The hiring committee consists of Holman, Coun. Ron Dowling, Mayor Basil Stewart and Gordon MacFarlane, the city’s acting CAO.
Sullivan asked for the three candidates to come before the whole council.
Holman suggested that was unlikely to happen.
“The ones that we believe are the most suitable will be presented to council,” he said.
Sullivan continued to press for a meeting with the entire council.
“I would encourage you and your hiring committee to bring these folks before all of council so everybody present has the opportunity to meet with them and ask questions and get a general idea of who we’re dealing with,” Sullivan said.
Holman said the hiring firm that the city engaged doesn’t recommend all the candidates go before council for the initial interviews.
“The reason being, it could be extremely intimidating to the perspective candidates,” Holman said. “So, when the interviewing of the three candidates are completed and we do our scoring, those that are at the top will be presented to council.”
Holman said the two top candidates will be presented to council.
Sullivan questioned why not bring all three before council.
“You’re interview three and bringing in the top two,” Sullivan said. “Would that not be as equally intimidating for the top two that would be coming before us? I don’t see what would prevent all there from coming before council?” he said.
Holman said the outside firm has listed out specific questions that have to be asked of the candidates during the initial interview
Sullivan suggested that the committee present its findings to council.
“The CAO does report to all of council and is the only position that reports to all of council,” Sullivan said. “I would like to see all of council have as much exposure to all three candidates.”
Councillors Tina Mundy and Cory Thomas said it was their understanding that the entire council would interview all three candidates.
Sullivan, Mundy and Thomas said this was the first they had heard of a city-staffed hiring committee.
Holman said he would try and make arrangements for council to interview all three candidates.