The Chaska City Council’s recent interview process for a new councilor to represent southwest Chaska was a fumbling affair.
During the past few weeks, the council has sought to replace Scott Millard, a Ward I councilor who resigned following a move out of his ward.
The opening resulted in eight residents throwing their hats in the ring. There were many good applicants, and we thank them for their interest in serving Chaska.
Unfortunately, they weren’t afforded the respect they deserved during the interview process.
During the first round of interviews on June 17, only Councilor Jay Rohe and Mayor Mark Windschitl were present for all eight interviews. Councilor Greg Boe arrived during the tail end of the second candidate interview and Councilor Chris Schulz arrived during the third. If councilors couldn’t attend everyone’s entire interview, the appointments should have been rescheduled.
The council ate pizza during the last several interviews. How many employers eat dinner during job interviews? What kind of impression does that give hopeful applicants? This kind of environment is appropriate for poker night, not determining who will represent 6,000 Chaska residents for the next two years. Schedule time for dinner between interviews.
During the second round, only the July 1 interviews with finalists Molly Koivumaki and Pat MulQueeny were public.
Because finalist Alex Young was on vacation during the scheduled Monday interviews, two teams of two councilors each interviewed him earlier — circumventing the quorum necessitating open meetings. Thus, the interviews were not publicized and the newspaper couldn’t report Young’s responses.
The council had a choice to hold a special election or appoint the special seat. Since they chose to appoint, they should have put in as much effort as possible to make their entire decision-making process transparent. In this case, the responses were particularly important, since the council was split 2-2 between Koivumaki and Young. The mayor ultimately cast the tie-breaking vote for Young.
We would have liked to know more about the city’s new councilor, who served as a Planning Commission chair. Unfortunately, when the Herald asked candidates why they wanted to be the next Ward 1 councilor, we didn’t receive a response from Young. And given the council’s opaque interview process, we don’t have much to go on.