The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

May 25, 2013

Council must listen to many voices when making administrator selection

The Clinton Herald

---- — A very important decision soon will be made concerning the future of this city.

We are down to just two candidates to fill Clinton’s city administrator position, the result of a selection process that included an 11-member, city-appointed committee composed of leaders from government, business and the community at large in a quest to bring in the right person to guide Clinton into the future.

Those two candidates — current Clinton Interim City Administrator and Finance Director Jessica Kinser and Joliet, Ill., assistant city manager Benjamin Benson — now are in the middle of an interview process that includes day-long meetings — Benson’s yesterday and Kinser’s on Tuesday — with business leaders and city staff, an evaluation, a tour, a community forum and an interview with the City Council.

No doubt this has been an intense process for all involved, from the City Council, which had to deal with starting it after the resignation of former city administrator Jeff Horne last fall and the decision to hire consultant Paul Greufe to lead their appointed committee to keep themselves separated from the process until it came time to interview the finalists, to the 17 people who initially sought the job, the pared list of seven and the two who remain in the running.

With the search winding down, it is important to note we are now entering a most important phase of the selection process — one that will and must include feedback to the City Council members who ultimately will make the hiring decision.

It’s a process the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Clinton Regional Development Corp, with the support of this editorial board, called for as far as six months ago to be transparent, thoughtful and broadly informed and to give the business community a voice in the selection process.

It is now that we want to stress the critical nature of the vote that will take place.

We hope our council members have done and will continue to do their homework, won’t let political posturing get in the way and make the best decision for this city as it continues to tackle weighty issues and works to grow. That includes taking their own opinions and integrating them with the feedback they will receive about the two candidates in the coming days.

It means striving to make that broadly informed decision called for by the CRDC and the Chamber six months ago.

This city, and its residents, deserve nothing less.