Commission Candidate Interviewees Announced
NEARLY SIX DOZEN VOLUNTEERS APPLIED FOR COMMISSION SEATS
The Costa Mesa City Council has made the first round of cuts in the quest to re-populate the three commissions they vacated recently. Sixty-eight (68) individuals applied for one or more positions on the commissions. Those applications were reviewed by the council members who winnowed them down to thirty-four (34) who will be invited for interviews at the special meeting on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 beginning at 4:15 p.m. in Conference Room 1A at City Hall. You may recall that each council member was to select up to three (3) candidates for each commission.
NEW PROCESS SEEMS OPTIMISTIC
This is a new process so it's going to be very interesting to see how it plays out. You can read the agenda for this meeting HERE. That agenda includes a staff report plus attachments which includes submissions by those chosen for interviews and a complete list of all applicants by commission. Take a few minutes to review Attachment #4, HERE, to see who applied. Each applicant has been assigned a time to be present for the interview. The process apparently allows only five (5) minutes for each applicant, regardless of how many positions he or she has applied for. I will be astounded if they are able to hold to that timetable.
SENIOR COMMISSION CANDIDATES UP FIRST
The council will begin at 4:30 by interviewing ten (10) candidates of the fifteen (15) submitted for the seven (7) seats available on the Senior Commission. Only two of the existing commissioners have re-applied, Gary Parkin and Lee Ramos, and both were selected for interviews.
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION CANDIDATES NEXT
Following the completion of those interviews they will continue to the applicants for the Parks and Recreation Commission, where twelve (12) of the twenty-eight (28) applicants for the five (5) seats available will be screened, again, at five minute intervals. Only Kim Pederson of the recent commission has re-applied and he was chosen for interviews, although Jeff Mathews had previously served on this commission and has applied and was also chosen for an interview. He was most recently Vice Chair of the Planning Commission.
PLANNING COMMISSION BATS CLEAN UP
At approximately 6:45 the fifteen (15) candidates of the thirty-six (36) submitted for the five (5) Planning Commission seats will be interviewed. Three of the recent commissioners re-applied - Chair Rob Dickson, Vice Chair Jeff Mathews and Commissioner Stephan Andranian.
SELECTION DATE NOT CLEAR
When this format was originally proposed time was set aside for the following Tuesday, January 31st, for completion of interviews or followup. It's not clear when these seventeen commissioners will be appointed, but the regular meeting of the City Council on February 7, 2017 would be the logical time. I suppose they could appoint them on the 31st, providing time for the Planning Commission to meet on their normal schedule. Perhaps we'll get more guidance on this next Tuesday.
AN OUTSTANDING POOL OF CANDIDATES
I must say, as a guy who made a good living screening applications and interviewing folks, this pool of candidates is outstanding! If you're interested, take a few minutes to read their applications. I think you'll be impressed, too.
HOPING PARTISANSHIP CAN BE SHOVED ASIDE
I hope it will be possible for the City Council to shove partisanship aside for this process and select those who have the best mix of education and experience for each commission. I say that knowing full well that it's probably not possible to remove that element from the process, but one can hope, right? If I was part of this process my preference would be to NOT perpetuate a majority on any of the commissions that had been beholden to the last council majority - but that's just me. There is much work to be done, particularly by the Planning Commission, so there is great value in selecting some candidates with recent experience on that body - particularly since the Development Services Department leadership is made up by consultants, not city employees. We'll see how that goes.
THIS PROCESS CRIES OUT FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY!
Sadly, because this meeting will be held in the very small venue of Conference Room 1A, audience accommodations are quite limited. And, I'm told, there will be no live television or streaming video of this process and, further limiting transparency of this process, it will NOT be recorded for subsequent viewing. I hope, between now and next Tuesday, wiser heads will prevail and they will move this process to the City Council Chambers, where interested members of the community can gather to watch and also provide live streaming/television of this process. Since they are going to interview candidates one at a time there seems to be no good reason to NOT hold it in council chambers.