Mayor David Drovetta has released the following statement regarding the Gardner city administrator search:
From the Office of the Mayor:
I have decided to place the City Administrator search on hold. I will recommend to the Council that we enlist the services of Michael Press, former Johnson County Manager, to serve as our Interim City Administrator, to assist us with our workload and to provide us with much needed guidance.
I have made this decision since the two top candidates for the position have withdrawn their applications due to the actions of a Councilmember and delays in decisions.
Based on the process agreed to by the City Council, candidates for the position were told that their interest would be held in confidence and they would be informed well in advance of making their names public. This assurance of confidentiality was broken, forcing the candidates to notify their organizations and governing bodies sooner than necessary and without adequate time to prepare.
This breach came to light when a candidate was contacted by an individual who writes about that community on a website. The individual referred to information that was only discussed in executive session. This violation of confidentiality by the Councilmember not only negatively impacted the reputation of our community but also placed us at risk for civil action. Later a Councilmember began to run their own background check of a candidate without notifying the candidate, city staff, or the Governing Body. This action was unethical, unprofessional and again placed our community at risk.
In the letter to me regarding his withdrawal, the second candidate cited that a Councilmember’s letter to the editor and the delays in the process as reasons for withdrawal. He stated the comments in the letter put all the candidates at a disadvantage which I later confirmed with the other candidate that withdrew.
We will resume the search in the spring with the assistance of Mr. Press.
It is unfortunate that our search was compromised by a councilmember who chose not to respect the process agreed to by our Governing Body and communicated to the applicants. It reflects poorly on our community and will likely reduce the pool of qualified candidates that might consider this position.
David C. Drovetta
City of Gardner