Woodridge Village Board of Trustees debate police chief hiring process
Woodridge Board of Trustees met Friday, July 1.
The Woodridge board of trustees consists of a mayor and six trustees who are elected at-large for overlapping terms of four years. As the policymaking body of the village, the board approves ordinances and adopts resolutions. The village clerk, also elected for a four-year term, keeps all official records and maintains minutes of all board meetings.
Here are the minutes as provided by Woodridge:
Mayor and Board of Trustees
Specially Called Meeting
5 Plaza Drive
Woodridge, IL 60517
Friday, July 1, 2016 1:30 PM Village Hall Training Room, 2ND Floor
1 I. Call to Order
Upon Roll Call by the Village Clerk the following individuals were:
Attendee Name Title Status Arrived
Mary Anne Blair Trustee Present
Mike Martinez Trustee Present
Mike Krucek Trustee Present
Kay Page Trustee Present
Gregory Abbott Trustee Absent
Pamela Beavers Trustee Absent
Eileene Nystrom Village Clerk Absent
Gina Cunningham Mayor Present
A. Chief of Police Recruitment
Administrator Rush provided an overview of the Police Chief Recruitment and hiring process and timeline. Rush also provided information on the Village Administrator hiring authority.
The timeline of the recruitment and interview process began on March 3, 2016, Chief Gina Grady announced her impending retirement to the Village Board
On March 17, 2016 there was a discussion with the Village Board about the planned recruitment process and next steps. At that time, staff described the process of developing a profile which included a community outreach effort as well as a survey that was distributed at the Town Meeting as well as opportunities for community input at the Woodridge Public Library held over two different weekends. The Village Board was asked if they were comfortable with the hiring process as outlined.
The developed profile and job posting were advertised and distributed statewide on May 13, 2016. The Chief of Police Recruitment Profile was included in the May 13, 2016 issue of the Administrator Memorandum (AM). Updated information on the Chief of Police application process has been posted each week in the AM. The application deadline was June 20, 2016, and 27 applications were received from candidates from the City of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
Administrator Rush then described the interview panel process which is scheduled to take place on July 12, 2016. As with previous interview processes with internal and external Chief of Police candidates, three panels will be involved in the initial interview process. The three panels consist of a Police Department staff member panel, a community/stakeholders panel, and a department manager panel. Village Administrator Rush will also interview the candidates on July 12, 2016. New to the hiring process is the inclusion of a Villag Board interview panel. Three finalist candidates from the July 12, 2016 interview process will be recommended for July 19, 2016 interviews with the Village Board. With input from all panels as well as her own interviews with candidates, the Village Administrator will share her recommendation for appointment with the Mayor and Village Board during the Executive Session on July 21, 2016. A conditional offer would then be extended and negotiations commence. A start date of early October is desired.
Administrator Rush then reviewed the Village Code Section 1-6B.5 - which outlines the Village Administrator appointment authority with Village Board consent. This provision is consistent with the hiring authority for all Department Manager positions. The Village Code ensures the continued accountability of Village Administrator for the supervision of the entire organization, eliminates politics in appointment, is equitable to all departments within the organization and provides for a continuity of control within the organization. The appointment authority ensures professionalism, and consistent application of standards.
Administrator Rush spoke about the values outlined in the Village Code to which the Village Administrator holds her team accountable: personal accountability, professionalism, humane treatment: fair and equitable of all individuals, fiscally responsible and organizational competence. These are values which Administrator Rush also holds highly.
Mayor Gina Cunningham asked if the Board members have any questions about the process described and the status of the process to date.
Trustee Mike Krucek asked to be more fully involved during the process and asked how the Village Board is more involved in the outlined process than during past processes.
Rush explained that a new interview step where the entire Board interviews the three finalists allows an opportunity for feedback on these top candidates prior to making a finalist recommendation.
Trustee Krucek expressed a concern that the use of a police department panel will be a conflict of interest because two of the individuals on the proposed panel have sent letters in support of internal candidate selection.
Administrator Rush responded that when filling department head vacancies, the Village has utilized a similar interview process where employee panels are used to provide feedback on candidates. Administrator Rush indicated there is value to this feedback; she has faith in the panels to give her accurate information/feedback.
Administrator Rush explained the resident panel would be comprised of residents like long-time resident, John Kozlowski, who was a member of the Quality Community Task Force and Randon Gardley who is a Commissioner on the Board of Police Commissioners. In addition, the stakeholders that the department is regularly in contact with including the school districts, the library, the park district are also participating.
The third panel is the department manager panel with whom the police chief is a team member and will closely work with to achieve the Village goals.
Trustee Mike Krucek expressed concern about the Village Board being involved in interviewing only the final three (3) candidates. He asked how do we (the Board) know we haven’t missed any other qualified candidates? He asked if there are any reason why we (the Board) are not told earlier as to who is involved and continued to express a desire to be involved earlier in the process referring to his desire to have access to all the resumes and the Board selection of those to interview. He wanted to know how the Board could be more involved.
Mayor Cunningham asked the Board to consider not so much how the Board should be involved in the process of selecting the Police Chief but if the Board should be more involved. She noted that this hiring process is a very comprehensive process and expertise already is in place to assist the Village Board. Trustee Krucek expressed that the Board should be more involved than they have been.
15 Mayor Cunningham asked to return the conversation to questions about the process as outlined by the Village Administrator.
Trustee Kay Page requested an explanation on how the screening process worked to reduce the number from 27 candidates down to 10 candidates. Administrator Rush explained that both Human Resources Director Albright and she reviewed all twenty-seven applications screening those individuals who best fit the profile developed for the position.
Trustee Page asked what were the top four qualifications in the profile which were considered to be the most valuable? Rush listed the top profile qualifications: 1. What is the candidate’s commitment to community involvement; 2. Does the candidate have a high level of professionalism. For example, can he/she write a memo/letter in a professional manner; 3. What Department does the candidate come from? Are there similarities in scope and size of department? and 4. Does the community the candidate comes from have the similar profile as Woodridge?
Trustee Mike Martinez asked: Is there an existing job description for the position? What are the key characteristics/experience standards and qualifications? When the term “historically” is being used, there are four trustees on the Village Board who are newer to where that term “historically” doesn’t mean anything.
34 Administrator Rush explained there are job descriptions for all employees and the Village Board adopts a salary ordinance annually which sets the compensation ranges. Trustee Martinez asked where are the job descriptions and salary structures located.
Rush noted that in the Village Code there are requirements for all Directors including the Police Chief. Additionally, each position in the Village has a job description and is assigned a minimum and maximum salary in the Village’s salary ordinance.
Trustee Martinez expressed concern about relying on historical references to processes and that there are many new Board members and they may not be familiar with how things occurred in the past or why. Mayor Cunningham stated that she understands his concern; she reiterated that the process was explained during earlier meetings and reminded the Board about the opportunity to ask questions. She noted that this was a special meeting called to address specifically questions of the Board. Mayor Cunningham stated that the Village is a professionally run organization and the Village Board does not have to become involved in the day-to-day business as the Village has a rofessional manager who has been charged with and entrusted to manage daily operations.
Trustee Martinez asked if (interview) panels are part of the ordinance. Administrator Rush indicated that the Village’s ordinances do not specifically detail hiring processes. The process used was developed many years, twenty or more years, ago to reflect the many audiences and stakeholders that the Police Chief must respond to regularly. The inclusive process was expanded to all department manager selections.
Trustee Page inquired about the level of diversity represented on the community interview panel. Maureen Albright noted that the panel members are representative of the diversity within the community.
Trustee Martinez asked if the interview panels could be mixed and matched so as to have different views from panel members. Katy Rush explained the panel questions are developed to gain information and perspective of the candidates specifically as it relates to the composition of the panels. For example, the police department panel member questions may be more of a technical nature, the community panel may have questions that relate to community policing efforts, etc. She noted the questions from each panel are consistent from candidate to candidate. Trustee Martinez noted that each panel will have their own specific concerns and feels that the mix and match approach will be of benefit.
Chief of Police Gina Grady said that if the panels were mixed, there may be some confusion in how to score the responses to questions as some of the questions are technical in nature and particular to the viewpoint of that panel. The Chief explained the Deputy Chief interview and hiring process to the Village Board and how she feels theygot the best candidate.
Rush explained that getting the department members involved in the process does help to educate the employees as well; it provides them a perspective of the leadership qualities and background required to supervise the department. In some ways, it is an important communication process of the requirements for advanced supervisory positions.
Trustee Krucek said it is his goal to ensure that the best candidate for the position is hired and to be able to convey that to the residents if asked. Mayor Cunningham asked Krucek how he feels now with the explanation of the process. Trustee Krucek responded he felt better informed and more positive about the process.
42 Mayor Cunningham expressed her trust in the Village Administrator and in going through with the process outlined. She cautioned that changing the process could result in issues. She reminded the Board that the Board expressed support in the process when it was outlined, that we requested the process to be conducted with our own forces versus a recruiter and that the Board has been involved in the steps in the process.
6 Mayor Cunningham relayed Trustee Beavers support of the process presently in place. Trustee Page referred to Trustee Greg Abbott’s e-mail. Page asked if there were concerns about the involvement of Administrator Rush in the selection process as shehas advised her intention to retire in January. She questioned if the hiring of the Police Chief should be left to the new Village Administrator. Administrator Rush explained the consequences of that deferral and expressed strong reservations about delaying the hire of the Police Chief. She explained the time line for the hiring of the Village Administrator and how the Police Chief hire would be likely delayed almost a year from now. Administrator Rush explained some of the considerations: the hiring of the new Administrator is not advised until after the election (May 2017). Transition of a new Administrator will likely result in a Chief recruitment happening in July or August of 2017 with a start date for Chief as late as Fall 2017. The new Administrator will not have the knowledge of the community, the department or the organization that Administrator Rush has. During this time, the department would require an interim appointment. This would likely be an internalcandidate but could also be a contractual employee. In either case, this would be a disservice to the organization and to the department. Administrator Rush noted that the current process takes advantage of her experience with the department, the organization and the community. It provides for continuity.
25 Mayor Cunningham asked if there were any more questions. Trustee Page indicated she had none. Trustee Martinez feels more confident after reviewing the brochure and he is willing to continue with the process.
28 Trustee Mary Anne Blair inquired about a longevity requirement. She noted that the Board expressed concern about this earlier. Katy Rush said that longevity is always a concern in that position and unfortunately, longevity cannot be guaranteed. The process must first focus on selection of the most qualified individual and then a conversation about longevity can ensue.
33 Trustee Krucek asked if it would cause any time constraints if he could have more time to be sure he had no further questions. Katy Rush responded the recruitment and hiring process had a tight timeline set. Mayor Cunningham indicated Trustee Krucek needed to get his questions in by 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5th 36.
Trustee Blair said she feels that wants to find the best candidate she was a proponent of full search and not limiting it to internal candidates.
Mayor Cunningham agreed; she indicated her trust in the process and our professionals which are Katy Rush and Maureen Albright.
Mayor Cunningham asked that if anyone has feedback or comments to get them to Katy Rush and herself by Tuesday morning (July 5th 2 ).
Trustee Krucek asked if the Board will get the resumes of the top 3 candidates and Katy Rush answered yes and that she will get them interview questions as well. Trustee Krucek asked if the Village Board interview panel will allow for the Trustees to ask interview questions. Administrator Rush explained that set questions are drafted for the Trustees and those would be sent to the Trustees in advance of the interview date of July 19, 2016. Trustees would have the opportunity to provide input on draft questions to be included in the Village Board interview process.
Motion to Adjourn
RESULT: ADOPTED [4 TO 0]
MOVER: Mike Martinez, Trustee
SECONDER: Mike Krucek, Trustee
AYES: Trustee Blair, Trustee Martinez, Trustee Krucek, Trustee Page
ABSENT: Trustee Abbott, Trustee Beavers
The Specially Called Meeting of the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Woodridge held at 1:30 PM on Friday, July 1, 2016 in the Village Hall Training Room, 2ND Floor of the Woodridge Village Hall was adjourned at 2:30 PM.
Executive Assistant Eileene Nystrom
Organizations in this Story
5 Plaza Dr
Woodridge, IL - 60517