City Council to interview at-large applicants, decide on selection process at 5 pm special meeting today

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The Northfield City Council meets at 5 pm today for a special Council meeting to interview the applicants and then decide on a process for selecting one of them as the interim at-large councilor at next weeks Council meeting. See the meeting packet (PDF) for complete details, including the caveat:

… the Council reserves the right to request further information from applicants, to re-open the application process, to appoint someone other than those who have filed written applications, and to extend the time for decision.

5:00 p.m. Scott Oney
5:15 p.m. Ray Cox
5:30 p.m. Rhonda Pownell
5:45 p.m. Dixon Bond
6:00 p.m. Victor Summa
6:15 p.m. David Ludescher
6:30 p.m. Steve Rholl

The Council may adopt any ground rules upon which you agree are fair and reasonable. To assist in the process, staff has researched and proposed two options. Option #1 was used during the last council vacancy appointment process. This option was derived from a League of Minnesota Cities publication and finalized by the City Attorney. The Council recently used option #2 during the Interim City Administrator selection process. In both methods, each individual vote must be recorded in the minutes of the council meeting and be available for public examination. Here are two options that have been used in the past:

Option 1:

  • Ballot slips will be prepared with the candidates names, ballot # and the name of the council member who is using each ballot.
  • On the first round, each member indicates that it is ballot #1 and chooses up to six candidates to continue on in the voting process. (Note that each member does not have to choose six candidates.)
  • On each round the low vote getters are eliminated. For instance, if more than one candidate gets zero votes, all of such candidates are eliminated.
  • Council members would black out the names of candidates who have been eliminated on subsequent ballots.
  • The Council then votes again, each time choosing up to one less than the total number of candidates still on the list.
  • The process is repeated until a successful candidate emerges.
  • In the event of a tie, the Council may choose to vote again, one or more times, to see whether the tie may be broken. In the event of a continued tie, the Council may choose to follow the method provided
    for tie breaking under the State election laws. The person responsible for declaring the results of the voting (probably the City Clerk), “shall determine the tie by lot” (i.e. by drawing a name from a hat.)

Option 2:

  • Council uses a rank order system similar to what was done as part of the interim administrator candidate selection process.
  • Council members rank the candidates from their first choice to the last choice.
  • A first choice receives seven points, a last choice receives one point.
  • The candidate with the most points wins.
  • In the event of a tie, the Council may choose to vote again on those candidates that are tied, one or more times, to see whether the tie may be broken.
  • In the event of a continued tie, the Council may choose to follow the method provided for tie breaking under the State election laws. The person responsible for declaring the results of the voting (probably the City Clerk), “shall determine the tie by lot” (i.e. by drawing a name from a hat.)

There’s also a Council Work Session at 7:15 pm:

  1. Presentation from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
  2. Report on library site feasibility study
  3. Budget update
  4. Discussion of Municipal Code Enforcement- Outside storage, storage of boats, trailers, equipment, blight enforcement

10 thoughts on “City Council to interview at-large applicants, decide on selection process at 5 pm special meeting today”

  1. Mr. Ludescher won a vacant seat on the city council back in about 1998 or so when the city council used the same selection process you list here as “option 1”. There were 5 or 6 other candidates–including yours truly. David won the final and deciding round, but I had won several rounds before that. I think I had the most total votes cast during the whole process! It was a bit confusing. Go applicants!

  2. Thanks for the historical note, Dave. I’d forgotten about that.

    I attended some of the interviewing tonight but had to leave early. The Council evidently plans to cast their votes on their top 3 choices by sometime tomorrow, with the results to be made available at next week’s Council meeting.

  3. Griff – Can we all just answer them here for fun even if we are not applying 🙂 Are those the real questions or are you pulling our legs ?

  4. The Nfld News posted the results of the balloting at 5:30pm. Dixon Bond is the choice.

    In balloting by the council tallied today, Bond received 16 of 18 total points, besting second-place finisher Ray Cox who had 8 points… Four councilors chose Bond as their top choice… Two council members — Mayor Lee Lansing and Councilor Jim Pokorney — chose others as their first choice, but picked Bond as their second choice… Other receiving votes were Victor Summa (4 points), David Ludesher (3 points) and Rhonda Pownell (2 points).

  5. Griff – Were these used in the past ? I would have expected something more like, “how will you learn the needs of the citizens you represent?” The questions seem a bit like asking a candy store job applicant, “describe your understanding of diabetes ?”

    But congratulations to Dixon Bond and hats off to all who offered their services.

  6. David H, I don’t know if similar questions were used in the past. I was just glad they didn’t ask one of those “if you could be an animal, what would you be and why?” questions. 😉

  7. Wow, strange questions. How did they score the answers? Here are my answers, which would not have gotten me the job had I been applying for it. 😉

    1. Weak mayor, strong chamber, head of city government is the chamber, en banc. Public employees answer to the chamber.

    2. Solve problems and manage controversy on a daily basis as part of my profession, not scared to resort to a crowbar or payoffs in the evening hours.

    3. I would avoid making decisions based on special interest groups by not making decisions based on special interest groups.

    4b. Waste of time and money.

    5. Four months. I would expect to commit 5 minutes a day perusing Locally Grown, and would then act according to the collective opinions of Griff, Ross, and Tracy.

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