Kim Calls Kibosh on CM Search?

Council member calls for slowdown of hire; says she'll vote against the new CM if not.

Council's currently convened in executive session, in the midst of final interviews with Jelynne Burley and Marc Ott. Last night's meet and greet with the candidates – attended by more than a 150 members of the public, including a sizable African-American turnout, no doubt heartened by the candidates' diversity – revealed both to be dedicated and prepared.

Yet the event did little to placate those believing the public should have had a greater hand in selecting the city manager. Can we now count council member Jennifer Kim among those who believe the search should've been performed differently? Guess so. After the jump, an email she sent to her council colleagues …

From: Kim, Jennifer
To: Wynn, Will; Leffingwell, Lee; Martinez, Mike [Council Member]; Dunkerley, Betty; Cole, Sheryl; McCracken, Brewster
Cc: Gerbracht, Heidi; Bailey, Rich; doug.firestone@arcus.net
Sent: Tue Jan 15 16:54:26 2008

Subject:

The selection of our new city manager will have a major impact on the management of our city in the years to come. I believe we have two great finalists to choose from, but I think we still need to make some changes in the process that will lead to our decision.

While the final decision should and will remain with the Council, I believe there has been insufficient input from the public in this process. Not only is the public a stakeholder in this decision, I believe it is critical to determine each candidate's ability to interact with members of the public.

To correct this omission, I am asking each of you to join me in the following changes:

- Postpone announcing our choice at least one week to allow for two more public forums in addition to the reception Tuesday night (Jan. 15).

- Make the following changes to program Tuesday night: After allowing the candidates to make a brief presentation, allow questions from the floor from citizens in attendance. Both candidates would be filmed, and the forum would be broadcast throughout the week on Cable Channel 6.

- Maintain this format for the other forums to be scheduled in the coming week, one forum to be held on Saturday during the day and another next Monday or Tuesday evening.

- Place a feedback form on the front of the City of Austin website starting tomorrow until next Tuesday night to allow additional comments from the public. These comments will be complied by our consultants by Wednesday for review by Councilmembers.

Again, I believe it is important that we get this right and the delay of a week will not adversely affect the transition to the new city manager. With all due respect, if we do not adequately involve the public in this decision, I do not believe I can vote in favor of results of this process.

Jennifer Kim

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

City Manager Search, City Council, Jennifer Kim, jelynne burley, marc ott

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