“The candidate withdrew his application,” city attorney John Rea said. “He will not be a candidate for the city.”
The Daily Home requested the resume and application of the city manager candidate after the mayor and council refused to release the name of the applicant they secretly met with and interviewed weeks ago.
The mayor and council denied that they broke the Open Meetings Act because there was never a quorum, or a majority of the City Council present during the interview process. Instead, the council met and interviewed the city manager candidate in smaller groups, sidestepping the requirement to notify the public of the meeting.
Dennis Bailey, general counsel for the Alabama Press Association, said governing bodies hold “serial meetings” so officials can avoid conducting public business in public.
“This was not the intent of the Open Meetings Act,” Bailey said last week.
State legislators passed the Alabama Open Meetings Act in 2005 in an effort to bring transparency and openness to government so as to enhance public trust and confidence in governing bodies.
Rea said Tuesday the applicant believed the disclosure of his name could have adversely affected him with other job searches.
Council members said last week the candidate didn’t want his name released because he was employed elsewhere.
“This is almost always said,” Bailey said.
Mayor Bill Hereford said Tuesday the city will move forward with hiring a new city manager.
“Next time it’s not going to be an issue,” he pledged.
Hereford said the council will interview finalists for the city manager’s job in an open public forum, and city officials will inform finalists that their applications and resumes are furnished to the media.
At its Monday night meeting, the council approved reopening the search for a city manager, after the mayor announced he had failed to negotiate a contract with the latest candidate.
The city will post the vacant city manager job for the next seven days.
Officials said the city has received more than 40 applications for the job.
In January, city officials released all names, resumes and applications of candidates who applied for the city manager’s job and who were interviewed or screened via telephone conference by the mayor and council. The public was notified prior to the January interviews by the local media, and the interviews were held in the conference room of City Hall.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.