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Thirty-four city administrator applications reviewed thus far
Four to be interviewed by aldermen

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Four of 34 applicants will get initial telephone interviews as the City of Platte City gets rolling in the process to replace recently fired City Administrator Keith Moody.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, aldermen in closed session reviewed the 34 applications. Aaron Jung, board president, said aldermen expressed interest in asking around seven questions of four of the applicants in a telephone conversation.

Four aldermen will each call one of the four chosen applicants. Aldermen doing the telephone work will be Jung, Andy Stanton, Todd Sloan and Kenneth Brown. Jung said some of the topics covered in the phone conversations will be public relations skills, how the applicant deals with public complaints and criticism, and whether the applicant is willing to relocate to Platte City.

The four aldermen then will deliver a report to the full board at next Tuesday’s regular meeting, Jung indicated.

Currently the application deadline is listed as Feb. 29. If the city decides to hire a recruitment firm to assist in the process, that deadline could be extended.

Aldermen continued to discuss the possibility of using a recruitment firm on Tuesday night. The board reviewed proposals from four firms and decided to invite the firm known as Robert J. Saunders Organization Consultants to give a presentation at next Tuesday’s meeting.

Saunders’ group bid $10,400 to assist in the search. People Wise of Platte City was low bidder at $10,345. People Wise’s bid also included costs for advertising, background checks and materials while Saunders’ proposal calls for the city to cover cost of those items.

Several aldermen said they first wanted to hear from the Saunders’ organization because of their experience in working with municipalities. The board indicated People Wise had no such experience.

People Wise is owned by Kevin Robinson, a previous candidate for mayor against current Mayor Dave Brooks.

Brown said if the Saunders’ presentation doesn’t “sound like anything, then go to the next time,” indicating other firms could be invited to give presentations later.

Stanton emphasized that even though the board is requesting a presentation from Saunders, aldermen have not made a decision to employ any firm to assist in the search.

“Keep in mind this is just a presentation,” Stanton said aloud after the board had come back into open session.

In a related matter, the use of an interview panel comprised of local residents and business owners to assist in discussions with applicants was talked about in open session. Several aldermen have already submitted a list of names of potential members to serve on such a committee. Neither Sloan nor Brooks have yet submitted any names.

“I haven’t put any names on the list because I’m just watching the list,” Brooks said.

“Why haven’t you considered city administrators from other area cities?” Brooks asked.

“Why can’t that be on your list of names?” Stanton asked Brooks, who didn’t directly respond.
“It’s our charge to hire somebody as good as Keith Moody,” Brooks said.

The potential interview panel could be discussed again as early as Tuesday night’s meeting, officials indicated.

It had earlier been reported in another media outlet that the list of candidates for the interview panel would be discussed in closed session. Jean Maneke, Sunshine Law expert for the Missouri Press Association, told The Landmark in a phone interview it is her opinion this would be a violation of the open meetings law.

Persons nominated to serve on such a panel “are not personnel” and therefore the meeting could not be closed under the exception allowed for discussion of personnel matters, Maneke said. Such is also the case when nominations are made for park board appointments, etc. By law, those discussions must take place in open session.

Jung emphasized at the start of Tuesday’s meeting that he would only discuss the panel candidates in open session. “I won’t discuss this in closed session,” Jung said.

Later, during the closed session, Jung could be heard by media members through the closed doors loudly reiterating the need to only talk about the panel in open session, apparently after someone in the room had attempted to bring up the topic behind closed doors.


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