Thursday, August 7, 2014

Finalist for city public works chief a mystery

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Collins: mum's the word. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Collins: mum's the word.

The city issued this statement regarding the public works director confirmation process:
Out of respect to City Council's role in the confirmation process of mayoral appointees we contacted each member to set appointments, two Councilors at a time, to provide them an opportunity to meet the candidate before confirmation proceedings. Out of respect for the candidate's privacy we did not provide information on the candidate prior to any in-person meetings and have requested Council's confidentiality until the confirmation proceeding takes place.
—————-ORIGINAL POST THURS., AUG. 7, 2014 11:06 a.m.———————-

Councilor Helen Collins is miffed that she was expected to show up Wednesday at the City Administration Building to interview the mayor's top pick for public works director without any background on this person. And why was this the set-up? Because the person is nervous about people knowing who he/she is, apparently.

"I'm supposed to interview the Public Works/Engineer Department Head candidate with no application, name, etc. before the interview," she writes to us via e-mail. "Nice ploy for open government!"

The search for a new public works director is due to the fact the current one, Dave Lethbridge, is serving only an interim appointment.

Councilwoman Jan Martin explains the confidentiality this way via email:
 I think we [she and Councilor Jill Gaebler] were the first Council members to have an interview with the candidate, but other members were interviewing throughout the week. I think the reason for not releasing the name is the candidate is currently employed and they don't want his name out until the confirmation. It's not uncommon for a candidate to request some privacy until the confirmation.
Anyway, check out this exchange between Collins and city HR Director Mike Sullivan. The messages are in reverse order chronologically; you know, like an e-mail thread usually is:
From: "Sullivan, Michael"
Date: August 6, 2014 at 11:35:43 AM MDT
To: "Collins, Helen"
Subject: Re: PW BIO

Council Member Collins,

We have followed the standard City hiring process. The position was posted (advertised) for a period of three weeks, the applications we received against the posting were vetted, interviews were conducted and a decision was made to offer the position to the most highly qualified and well-matched to the position candidate (subject to Council confirmation).

Regarding the Council member interview with the candidate; because of the appointee's concern regarding confidentiality (a common occurrence), we have not sent any identifying documentation prior to the meeting. We have recently conducted one session for the appointee, with two members, it worked very well.

Thanks again for your time this afternoon, I believe you will find the session valuable.

Best Regards,

Michael B. Sullivan, SPHR
Director, Human Resources
City of Colorado Springs
30 S Nevada Ave, Suite 702
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1575
Phone 719-385-5117, cell 719-330-4399
Sent from my iPad

On Aug 6, 2014, at 11:24 AM, "Collins, Helen" wrote:

When did we start doing interviews without applications? Stupid!

R, Helen

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 6, 2014, at 10:57 AM, "Sullivan, Michael" wrote:

Hi Helen,
Sorry for delayed response here. If you'll allow, please let me discuss with you today at 2:30—there is a significant concern on the part of the appointee wrt confidentiality (you will meet the person at the meeting).
Thanks much for understanding—and for making it to toady's meeting. I very much appreciate it.

Michael B. Sullivan, SPHR
Director, Human Resources
City of Colorado Springs
30 S Nevada Ave, Suite 702
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1575
Phone 719-385-5117, cell 719-330-4399
Sent from my iPad

On Aug 6, 2014, at 7:57 AM, "Collins, Helen" wrote:


I would like a copy of the bio of the P/W candidate before this afternoon's meeting.

Thank you! R, Helen

Sent from my iPad
Collins reports this morning that she still hasn't received the candidate's application, although she was told it would be sent to Council members. Asked to identify the candidate, she declined, but said his identity would be known on Tuesday. That's when Council is expected to confirm the appointment.

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