I’m going to try to be an equal opportunity complainer tonight.
I’d been meaning to note something about the WoMag blog post about the city auditor “search” (which was mostly quite good):
According to DelSignore, at least two significant avenues were not pursued. One was the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) newsletter, which lists municipal finance job openings around the country. The other is the Massachusetts Government Finance Officers Association (MGFOA), which he says sends Twitter messages to all municipal finance officers on a bi-monthly basis. Both might have attracted a much larger and more qualified pool of applicants, but neither was used, says DelSignore.
Except, of course, that the MGFOA actually HAS the city auditor job listed on their website.
Sunday’s Telegram brought us a Nick K. column [$] about the mysterious forces attacking City Clerk Rushford:
Meanwhile, some city councilors feel City Manager Michael V. O’Brien should have spoken up in defense of Mr. Rushford when all this hit the fan because, after all, he was the one who appointed the city clerk to the election position in 2007.
Whenever any of Mr. O’Brien’s department heads have gotten into tight spots in the past, the manager has never been bashful about strongly defending them. That did not happen in this instance.
It could be that Mr. O’Brien did not want to butt into the affairs of the Election Commission. That’s certainly plausible because he has not gotten involved when controversial matters arise on other boards and commissions.
It should, of course, be noted that the city clerk is not, in fact, one of Mr. O’Brien’s department heads.
As folks may recall, the city clerk reports to the City Council. And the executive director of the Election Commission is appointed by the
This person became one in the same as a result of home rule legislation filed in 2007 (requested by the City Manager).
In 2007, the city’s then-executive director of the Election Commission, Craig Manseau, left the city for greener pastures, leaving us without anyone in that position. So the City Manager recommended that a change be made so that the city clerk could also serve as the director of elections.
The City Council approved this recommendation at their June 19, 2007 meeting with an 11-0 vote.
You can find a fuller account in the Telegram article “O’Brien seeking changes; Manager wants to put elections with clerk” from June 18, 2007. (You can access the Telegram archives with your library card.)
Longtime 508 listeners should also note that the June 19, 2007 City Council meeting is when Karon Shea was first appointed to the License Commission.
As someone once said to me, the problem with badly-run organizations (we’re not naming names) is that if you do a good job, you’ll likely be rewarded with more work responsibilities.
And as we’ve seen in recent years, the City of Worcester tends to load its star employees with more and more responsibilities (or extended contracts) rather than try to find suitable replacements or assistants.
The city spent $14,000 on an executive search that yielded candidates no one found acceptable.
Or, rather, they spent $14,000 to identify some candidates they found acceptable to be the deputy auditor but not the head auditor, and gave the current auditor a raise.
The city auditor made his wish to retire be known more than two years ago, and (according to the Telegram) the deputy auditor’s position has been unfilled for two years.
What are we doing right now to avoid this problem in the immediate future? And after the ordeal of the interview/rejection process, would any of these candidates want to work for the city?
But why should the City Council pay attention to its own issues (a complete lack of institutional memory and the desperate need to find a city auditor, among others) when it can deflect attention to the schools?
So — in short — the City Council knew they were going to have a staffing problem in the auditor’s office for two years, and there has been no one waiting in the wings, but they thought they could hire someone within a month of the current auditor retiring and have a smooth transition. Oh, and have the new auditor move to Worcester at a moment’s notice.
The need to find an auditor will not go away, no matter how many distractions present themselves.
Let’s hope that by February the deputy city auditor’s position has been posted and attracts quality candidates and –especially — that we can learn that one can only count on cajoling someone out of retirement for so long.