Vergennes City Council learns about city manager hiring process
VERGENNES — Mayor Michael Daniels presented information to the Vergennes City Council on Tuesday about the “Strategic Formal Hiring Interview Process” he used while working in management for the state of Vermont.
Daniels believes that process could be helpful in finding a replacement for City Manager Mel Hawley, who plans to step down at some point this year.
That process is known among human resources professionals as “Shooting From The Hip,” and Daniels used that reference in a meeting two weeks ago, causing some confusion and leading him and council members to issue clarifications in the Independent and social media.
In other business at the Tuesday evening meeting, the council approved a city vote on a new fire truck (see story, Page 1A) and also:
• Briefly discussed voting hours. Hawley said the timing will not allow a possible charter change measure on the issue to appear on the Town Meeting Day ballot, but the Board of Civil Authority retains the right to set voting hours for general, primary and special elections, even though the charter sets Town Meeting Day voting from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The BCA, including council members, will meet on Jan. 31 and discuss voting hours as well as other issues, Hawley said.
• Heard from Hawley that he is waiting for a state construction permit before work can begin to remove a hallway wall in city hall that would allow conversion of the former police station squad room into a conference room. The project could cost up to $15,000, according to city officials, and they could use the Water Tower Fund to pay for it.
• Heard from Hawley that the four-year-old solar array at and near the city sewer plant continues to underperform. Encore Renewable Energy projected the array would produce about 200,000 kilowatt hours annually and create about a $4,100 a year offset for Vergennes on its power bills, but Hawley said it has never reached those numbers. In 2017 it produced 166,000 kWh and saved the city about $3,000, he said, in part because of an apparent problem in February. Encore is reviewing the array’s performance, Hawley said.
• Authorized the Vergennes Police Department to bring in an experienced Vermont State Police office employee for 80 hours to help clear up a paperwork backlog. Hawley said the $1,600 expense would be absorbed within the existing police budget.
• Received a request from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes to increase the city’s annual line-item donation from $2,000 to $5,000. Voters will decide that request and many others that will remain unchanged on the Town Meeting Day ballot.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].
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