Your heart is pounding, your throat is dry, your tie feels ever so tight and you’re sure your palms are sweating: you are about to begin a job interview. We’ve all been there, felt that pressure – now imagine you are not only being interviewed by your prospective boss, but by an entire room full of strangers! These are the circumstances under which the top 5 candidates for Shady Cove City Administrator found themselves at 8:00 am on the 18th. The scene was the city’s “Meet and Greet” event, the candidates: Denise Brakeman, Janelle Evans, Rick Hohnbaum, Jim Hunt and Joseph (Joe) Riker. All well qualified, all probably nervous as all get out but none showing outward signs of same.
The morning began with coffee, juice and treats made by Assistant City Admin Margaret Borgen, at the appointed hour the audience was seated and settled in as the candidates – in random order – each gave a brief introduction to themselves and extolled their qualifications.
Each had a long history of working with small city governments. Some, like Brakeman and Evans had been veritable “one man shows” wearing multiple hats under single job titles. Riker and Hohnbaum had each been city managers and Hunt had worked for a city Council of Governments. All candidates had multiple layers of experience.
Following the introduction portion of the meeting was the Q & A. The first question came from Planning Commissioner Ed Mayer he wanted to know what the candidates felt was Shady Cove’s biggest asset and biggest concern. Riker and Brakeman listed the Rogue as the asset of choice. For Hunt and Evans it was the citizens, their active lifestyles and their love for their community. For Hohnbaum it was the forward thinking city government.
Though each candidate had spent just a few days “getting to know” the city – all saw water issues as the liability. Riker noted the over abundance of individual wells as “an invitation to problems”. Given more time in the city he no doubt would realize the invitation has been sent and that party is in full swing. Roads and miscellaneous code violations (both hazardous and aesthetic) were also listed as liabilities. The upshot: it was clear the candidates had each done their homework, visited local businesses and spoke with citizens. They all had a solid sense of the city’s pluses and minuses.
The next (and final) question came from Jim Ulrich; he queried if the candidates knew of any Federal funding available to help the city resolve the aforementioned liabilities. Here the candidates were honest to a fault. None saw Federal dollar signs on the horizon, but each felt the city could progress without aid from Uncle Sam. Though their ideas varied, each centralized on the city’s citizens, businesses and government banding together to ensure a solid future.
Questions and answers was followed by more drinks, snacks and informal conversation. At 9:00 am the Executive Session and formal interview process began. The follow up executive session for the hiring process will take place Mar. 25 where the councilors and staff will take on the unenviable task of choosing just one of the five candidates to be the next member of “Team SC”.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent