Should Citizen Participation Be Part of The Interview Process For Elk Grove's Economic Development Director?

September 17, 2014 | At last week's Elk Grove City Council Meeting, an interesting concept was floated in the wake of the mutual...

September 17, 2014 |

At last week's Elk Grove City Council Meeting, an interesting concept was floated in the wake of the mutually agreed separation between the city and former Economic Development Director, Randy Starbuck.

The idea came from Elk Grove resident Nikki Carpenter, who said during public comment that the city has failed in its economic development efforts. This is not the first time the city's rainmaking efforts have been negatively critiqued by Carpenter and other Elk Grove residents.

As part of the solution, Carpenter suggested that an Elk Grove citizen be included in the interview process for the next economic development director. Carpenter said during her public comments and in emails to council members that she would like to be part of the process.

In an unscientific poll the concluded on Monday, an overwhelming majority of respondents said they support citizen participation in the interview process. So if it is Carpenter or some other citizen, do you think it is a good idea to have a citizen included in the interview process for the city's next economic development director?

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Laguna Pete said...

Unfortunately, our city and it's staff have proven incapable numerous times of proper vetting and applicant research prior to hiring.

I say let's allow a citizen or two on the committee and before hiring put the top two or three applicants out to the public so that they may do additional research (in these days of social media and few secrets, this is negligent if not done thoroughly) and make recommendations prior to a hiring.

This way, no one can say that the city didn't follow through with proper and substantial research.

Connie Conley said...

There are many boards and commissions, especially at the State level, that include a "public" member. When hiring Dr. Steven Ladd's replacement, the interview panel included people who are not employed by the EGUSD.

As stated, given the city's track record for retaining top management positions, what would it hurt?

The city of Elk Grove needs to take a lesson from President Abraham Lincoln and appoint a "foe" to panel. It seemed to work out very well for him.

Anonymous said...

It does appear that the process we're using is not working for us so perhaps change is in order. If a "public" member has just one great idea, that's more than you started with.

The first thought that comes to mind is that we are not a regional player and that has to change. We need to work closely with the commercial real estate market in order to learn what the current trends are. I'm thinking the current process with the MLS is a great example...Sacto is being open with the people, even including them in the process and what is EG doing? No one has a clue, all behind closed doors!

Anonymous said...

The City Council does not want any outsider to tell them how to do what they please. When the CC meets prior to the CC Meeting they are assign each other parts that they will play in agenda items. Listen close and you can determine that every vote has a first and second assigned before the meeting. We the citizens of Elk Grove have no voice and never will until we start to raise our voices and get more Citizens to understand how we are being railroaded into the agenda that the CC members is placing on us the TAXPAYERS.

Anonymous said...

I agree and it is also so easy to detect when they have their discussions. They're not even good at hiding that from the public. Maybe we should just do away with City Council meetings altogether and they can just publish a newsletter telling us what big spending items will be added to our tax bills in the future. It's obvious this is not a CITY OF THE PEOPLE...sorta reminds me of all the old gestapo stories.

Of course it is in our power to change that..and that is at the polls. We just need to do a write-in campaign and they're gone. I know...wishful thinking! My write-in will most likely go lacking.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove has a very poor ratio of jobs to the number of EG households. It currently stands at 0.5 whereas most cities of our size range between 2.0 and 3.0. The jobs-to-households ratio must be improved, but Elk Grove has trouble recruiting businesses to open branch or home offices here because the majority of Elk Grove residents commute to work in Sacramento; the problem is they work mostly in state and country government, and they are vested and unlikely to jump to private business and lose their extensive benefit packages. It's a Catch-22 situation. Elk Grove really needs to recruit businesses but does not have a pool oof prospective job applicants with the education and experience businesses require.

The City Council should have pushed business recruitment from the day the city was incorporated, not stopping with the state correctional facility.

It is imperative that the candidate chosen to fill the position of Economic Development Director must have extensive experience, a broad base of contacts, and a proven track record of attracting employers that pay more than minimum wage and provide decent benefit packages. Nothing less will move our city forward, and the city must prepare itself to pay a salary that allows it to recruit candidates of that caliber. It just might be the best investment the city ever makes.

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