Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
A week after a luncheon and series of hiring panels interviewed finalists to replace former Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson, the city has announced that it plans to return to the application stage of its hiring process.
“At this time we do not have a candidate for city administrator to propose for hire,” Mayor Jaron Rosien said in a statement. “The personnel hiring committee established by council resolution is scheduled to meet (Wednesday.) Our intention will be to provide a recommendation to council with a framework for a second round of applications. Thank you to all who continue to be patient as we continue our work to make this decision with the care it requires.”
Rosien said the move came after two candidates dropped out of the five-person finalist pool, leaving the city with fewer options than it would’ve liked.
“The day of the interviews we had three finalists, and the process did not come to fruition with those three candidates,” he said in an interview after the meeting.
It remains unclear whether the city plans to maintain its contract with Midwest Municipal Consulting, the hiring firm used in the administrator search. While the city’s contract with the consultant pays its last installment when an administrator is hired, Rosien declined to comment on the possibility of firing the consultant, saying such a big decision would fall to the hiring committee and city council.
Rosien said he hoped the search would yield a better pool of candidates in a second round of applications.
“The city of Spencer just hired a city administrator, the city of Marion just hired a city administrator, I believe there’s a third city that also did the same,” he said. “So a pile of applicants for those positions and those potential finalists are now freed up and potentially would be a good fit for the city of Washington. I am confident that we will find the best fit for the city of Washington, and that’s why we didn’t make a hire during this last round.”
Rosien said the exact timeline to hire a city administrator was now unclear.
“Likely the second application process will be shortened from the first, it will ultimately depend on what that personnel committee discusses and recommends to council,” he said. “That may be at a meeting in two weeks, or it may have at a quicker, special meeting just to approve that timetable.”
Interim Co-administrator Kelsey Brown said the delay was necessary to find a new administrator that met the city’s needs.
“We just want to make sure that we’re truly finding the best fit and the most qualified candidate,” she said. “We understand that means more work for us, and we’re lucky that we have extra help with the department heads and a mayor and a council that have been really understanding. Hopefully we can get through it all together and find the best person for the fit.”