Sunday analysis: Was the immediate naming of Shane Shields as city manager a good thing for Wellington?

first_imgby James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council could hire Shane Shields to be its next city manager at its meeting Tuesday. At its last meeting in somewhat of a surprise move, the council voted to hire Shields contingent on negotiating a contract. The issue of city manager is not on the agenda that was released Friday, but there is an executive session on the agenda to do the negotiations.Shane ShieldsMayor Shelley Hansel said it is possible they could come out of executive session and vote to hire Shields and make it official. They could also continue the negotiations and make the official move at a later time.At the last regular meeting council member Vince Wetta surprised his fellow council members by making a motion to hire Shields. That came as they were discussing whether to hire the league of municipalities to run a search and help them hire a city manager at a cost of about $6,000.At a work session the week before the council had talked about the issue, and whether they should just go ahead and hire Shields instead of going through the search. Three council members expressed an interest in hiring Shields instead of doing the search, but other members wanted to do the search anyway, even though almost all said they thought Shields might well emerge as the top candidate.Shields is the current interim city manager, and served in that capacity a couple of years ago when the city was searching for city manager that resulted in the hiring of Roy Eckert. The council dismissed Eckert a few months ago and was faced with looking for a manager again.The motion by Wetta passed by a  4-2 vote. Kip Etter and Kelly Hawley voted no. Etter seemed upset and left the meeting abruptly and did not return. He also missed the next work session meeting, but was celebrating his anniversary with his wife. He has not responded to questions about leaving the meeting. Hawley also left, but returned moments later.Hawley said later it was a “huge surprise” that the motion was made to hire Shields, especially when a consensus had been reached at an earlier meeting to go through the process of taking applications with the league of municipalities running the search.Hawley said she had nothing against Shields, but felt going through the process was “the right and best thing to do for Wellington.”Hawley was upset and said later she felt the others had gone against what they had agreed to earlier.“They chose to go behind our backs and not give us one shred of professional courtesy and give us a warning.  We were there that night expecting to simply vote on LKMs contract.  I’ve never been so mad and disappointed in public in my entire life,” she said a couple of days later.Hansel said she was surprised, but not shocked, that Wetta made the motion. She was in favor of going through the process with the league, “and I thought we would see Shane emerge from there as the top candidate.” She felt like it was a good idea to spend the money on the search.Council members Jim Valentine and Jan Korte both said at the previous work session they wanted to hire Shields. Valentine did not agree with going with the league to do the search, but the others did at the work session at least.Wetta said he didn’t know if his motion would pass or not, but wanted to do that because he felt it was the best thing to do. He was the first one to express second thoughts about going with the league and doing the search a couple of weeks ago.Some had questioned whether it was proper to make such a motion while a different question was being discussed, and whether it was proper to have a motion on an issue not on the agenda.According to the State Attorney General’s office, cities do not have to have an agenda, and are not legally bound to follow an agenda. The Attorney General suggests having one and putting what they intend to talk about on the agenda, but they also said they understood that issues come up. They may not take a binding vote in a work session, but in a regular meeting or a special called meeting, they may make a motion at any time, whether it is on the agenda or not.Hansel said while she would have preferred to go through the search, she felt that since there was a motion and a second, she needed to call for a vote, which she did. The Mayor does not vote unless there is a tie.At the work session Etter said it was not a good business move to not go through the process, and wanted to do that.Hawley wanted to open the job up to the general public.“People have tried to turn this into a ‘For Shane, Against Shane’ issue.  It’s not.  This has been about trying to do what’s best for the future of Wellington.  We needed to step back, take out the personal issues, and focus on what Wellington needed.  If at the end of the hiring process, Mr Shields came out as the strongest candidate to lead Wellington, then so be it.  Peace of mind.  No excuses,” Hawley said.Also, when Wetta made his motion to hire Shields, he said Shields would bring a contract proposal to the meeting. That led some to feel he may be writing his own contract, but Wetta said the city would still be negotiating the contract and have final say in the matter.Mayor Hansel said she was surprised at the move, but even after that work session, she said she thought it might happen as it did.“With three people saying they wanted to hire him, I had a feeling a motion might happen,” she said.She said she felt confident Shields would have emerged as the best candidate partly because he has been with the city for many years and has a reputation of doing a good job. He has run the city’s finances for years and is very familiar with the budgeting process.Hansel said she talked with Wetta after the meeting where the vote was made, and she felt better about it after hearing his reasoning.“We have a lot on our plates as a city. We have the raw water issue, we have the budget and a building falling down. We have a lot going on and not a lot of extra time or money. We really don’t have time for another person to come in and have a learning curve. We need someone who can hit the ground running,” she said.She said since she has been mayor, Shields has several times saved the city on financial issues.Hansel said she feels the timing is good and feels good about the possibility of hiring Shields as the city manager.Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (6) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +8 Vote up Vote down Golden Para Clause · 208 weeks ago Shane Shields is a great choice, but the manner in which the vote to hire him is questionable when decision had been made to open the process up to other candidates. With that said, it was necessary to hire Shane due to having to pay off former City Manager high amount to fire him. That fact alone makes the decision wise when money to build a water line, razing buildings, and other money could be better spent by city government. Will someone please tell who currently seats on City Council when decision was made to give former City Manager Roy Eckert a “Golden Parachute” clause of such magnitude? That mistake should never happen again and should not be repeated!!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +23 Vote up Vote down Just me · 208 weeks ago Sometimes your best option is right in front of your face so props to Vince Wetta for realizing that Shane Shields is the best option and saving Wellington money that would have been used for a search. Even the mayor admitted that Shane probably would have been the choice after the search so why spend money that can be used elsewhere????? Just doesn’t add up and lots of other things don’t add up so I will use my votes much more wisely next election. Hope others do, too. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +15 Vote up Vote down jj little · 208 weeks ago Its time for the life long council members to be replaced, and get some new people to represent the people. Its time for a change in wellington before its too late. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +19 Vote up Vote down mom2mykids · 208 weeks ago I think Shane Shields is the perfect person for the job. He is the one who is having to always step up to the position when the other bad choices for City Manager end up going south. As for Kelly Hawley(Green) and Kip Etter getting up and leaving the meeting like that, really shows how unprofessional they are. Kelly said how she wasn’t expecting that and how they had already talked to go towards the agency deal, well know you know how the citizens here feel, left in the dark until all of the sudden there is a big change with none of us being involved. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +15 Vote up Vote down redfanx2 · 208 weeks ago Can some of the council members be anymore childish? Really left a meeting? Grow up and no wonder Wellington is struggling! And anniversaries can be celebrated anyday of the week. He agreed to the job, so make those dates a priority also. Let’s be honest though, Wellington isn’t the only city having problems, it’s everywhere because society has allowed people to act the way they do.? Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +11 Vote up Vote down notlla · 208 weeks ago IT IS, WHAT IT IS . Right Shelly Why spend money we don`t need to You voted to hire him problem solved . and our tax money saved….You wont find a better person to do the job and certain council members won`t be able to lead him around on a string like they did with Roy Eckert . Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! 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