February 7, 2016

Gardner restarts city administrator search

Danedri Thompson
Gardner is again seeking city administrator applicants.
Mike Press, interim city administrator, told council members he had received 35 resumes as of Feb. 6. He anticipates about 100 applicants by the end of February.
Mayor Dave Drovetta will lead a committee of council members Kristina Harrison and Chris Morrow in narrowing the field before the full council will vet final applicants.
During the Feb. 6 council meeting, council member Larry Fotovich said he’d like to be involved in the process of filtering applicants, but Drovetta said he’s made his decision about how the hiring process.
“If you’re not happy about it, I’ve made my decision,” Drovetta said.
“I’m telling you I’m unhappy,” Fotovich said. “I want to be involved in it and I think the rest of the council should too.”
According to Gardner’s charter, the Mayor appoints or hires a candidate with council approval.
“I want to insure the process is not going to go the way it went the last time,” Drovetta said of his decision to use a few select council members to narrow the field.
Last year, council members interviewed three candidates to replace Stewart Fairburn, who took a job with the city of Chickasha, Okla., last February.
One applicant, an administrator in another Johnson County city, withdrew his name from consideration after his name was leaked to a Shawnee Mission blog as a possible Gardner candidate. A second candidate withdrew when the city he worked for gave him a raise to stay.
After the loss of two of the three final candidates, council members halted the hiring process to regroup. Press was hired to work as an interim administrator and to help spear-head the efforts for a new administrator.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Press is the Dictator’s hired gun to get him what he wants and the citizens are paying dearly for his so-called services – that is my opinion. The Mayor made it extremely clear at the end of the 2-6-12 Council meeting that he continues his dictatorship ways. ANY AND ALL Council members, especially those ELECTED into office, should be made more than welcome to review applicants for the city manager position from the very beginning of the process. But that didn’t happen, did it??? No, it sure didn’t and we all know why.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Two things (certainly not restricted to these two things) the city of Gardner does that irks me are as follows:

    1. When they put a 3 minute limit on the time a citizen may take to say their piece.

    2. How they keep track of the number of requests you make for information under the Open Records Act. I have always felt they do this because sometime in the future they will want to restrict the number of times a citizen can request information about THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT.

    The following article from LA tells you how the average citizen is not respected and how the worthless politicians, bureaucrats and the thieves are the real problems. Ya got to just love it…….


    January 21, 2012
    The weekly meetings of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors tend to drag, with some lasting five hours or more.

    And Board Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky thinks he knows why — members of the public talk too much.

    So earlier this month, he proposed placing restrictions on how often constituents are allowed to speak.

    Of course, many government boards, including the county, set time limits on how long speakers can talk. His proposal, however, would go significantly further by limiting the number of times a Joe or Jane Citizen could address county leaders during the course of a single meeting.

    The proposal is drawing howls of protest — and not only on free speech grounds. Some argue it’s the supervisors themselves — with their tardiness, endless proclamations and general long-windedness — that make the meeting drag, not the taxpayers.

    They may have a point.

    At the Jan. 10 meeting, for example, when Yaroslavsky made his proposal, the board took 23 minutes to rattle off the names of about 60 people in whose honor they would adjourn the meeting. By contrast, members of the public rose to speak only 23 times during the four-hour public session, taking a total of about an hour.

    “There’s a lot of fluff” at supervisors meetings, said Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at Cal State L.A. “Cutting public comment just creates the impression that the board is secretive.”

    To critics, that Jan. 10 meeting offered a window into the real reasons the meetings take so long. First, it started late. Twenty-three minutes late, to be exact, at 9:53 a.m.

    After the invocation and pledge of allegiance, the five officials — each representing nearly 2 million constituents — spent most of the next hour on non-legislative items.

    They gave certificates of recognition to, among others, the new Sri Lankan consul general, welcoming him to the area; world famous tenor and Los Angeles Opera general director Placido Domingo, whose birthday was in 11 days; and reserve Deputy Sheriff Shervin Lalezary, who identified the man now suspected of starting a recent string of fires in Hollywood.

    And, as he does almost every week, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich held a Doxie-mix puppy named Heidi from a local shelter and asked that anyone interested in adopting her call the county.

    At 11:11 a.m., with Sheriff Lee Baca waiting to discuss a report on violence in the county’s overcrowded jails, the supervisors went through their unusually long list of adjournments. Antonovich had the most, with 30 names, while Supervisor Don Knabe came in second with 16. (At another recent meeting, Yaroslavsky delivered a 1,165-word panegyric commemorating five people, including former Czech president Vaclav Havel and writer Christopher Hitchens, neither of whom had significant dealings with the county.)

    Supervisors didn’t get down to business with Baca until 11:36.

    By that point, community activists in the audience were seething over what one later termed “a dog and pony show” of delays. Over the four hours that supervisors met that day in public session, comments from residents took up perhaps 60 minutes.

    Critics of the Yaroslavsky policy, which has been sent to county’s lawyers for review before a potential vote, say it threatens a basic democratic tradition: The 1st Amendment right to petition government for a redress of grievances.

    The board oversees the largest county government bureaucracy in the nation and has long been criticized for its detachment. Part of the reason is the lack of turnover.

    Three of five members have been in office at least 17 years; a fourth has been in office 15 years.

  3. Im with stupid says:

    You Know, Keeping your head up your own butt provides some warmth during the cold season!

    It looks like this novel technique is becoming popular here in Gardner!

  4. It used to be they layed the bills on the table and anyone who wanted to look could do it. Doubt that’s the case anymore. I wonder what it is they try to keep so secret about? I don’t understand the attitude.

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