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January 27, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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January 27, 2000
 

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aroundtown Residents Praise Stream-lined Commission Member Selection Process Q City hall activists discuss pros and cons of current appointment system. By Tina Feng With vacancies in various commission departments, the City Council is current- ly seeking qualified candidates who aze ready to step up to the jobs. However, as positions open, up questions arise con- cerning the City Council's current selec- tion process - does this newer process really make the council more of an equal opportunity employer? Approximately two years ago, the Beverly Hills City Council revised its old commission appointment process in favor of one that was more structured. Under the new system, all potential candidates must fill out an application and be inter- viewed by two members of the related commission and two City Council mem- bers. According to Rudy Cole, former chair of the Recreation and Parks Commission, the older method did not consist of any established rules. Instead it was based on an understanding between members of the Council. "In the past we did it by rotation. Every Council member was given a chance to appoint a commission member," Cole said. "The object was to have at least one Council member's appointee on each city commission." City Manager Mark Scott further explains that in the past a notice was printed in the paper announcing an open- ing in a commission. Resumes and letters were sent in, but there was no formal application or interview process. "The whole process was kind of ad hoc. If a Council member wanted to call some- one back, he would," Scott said, "but not everyone was given an interview." Commissions, believes that the newer system works well in many aspects. "It's no longer such a closed process because the city advertises it," Harris said. "It gives more of an opportunity for new people to apply -- people who may not have had any government experience. There are people out there who the tgThe downside to this [old] appointment process was that it led to cronyism. If you had no friends on the Council you had little chance of being appointed. || -- Rudy Cole, former chair of the Recreation and Parks Commission Cole agrees. "The downside to this [old] appointment process was that it led to cronyism," Cole said. "If you had no friends on the Council you had little chance of being appointed. It was a closed process." The new method of selecting commis- sion members aims to solve this problem and to make the whole process more open and fair. All potential candidates are now given an opportunity to get interviewed. Betty Harris, former chair of both the Traffic and Parking and Public Works Council doesn't know about and who can add a great deal." Hams explains that while this new sys- tem may be more equitable, it maybe challenging for candidates who have had less experience. "When I participated in the interview process I noticed that many people were very nervous," Hams said. "The inter- views were difficult for some people and the applications were very technical as well. This is a pitfall because we might be missing some good people because of this." Scott, on the other hand, suggests the Team Beverly Hills program, which was installed around the same time as the new appointment system, should provide an opportunity for potential candidates to gain more experience. "Team Beverly Hills is a leadership program in which 25 people chosen from the community go through a training pro- gram on how city hall operates," Scott said. Cole, however, believes that the system now is quite cumbersome. "I once inter- viewed 15 candidates and spent a whole day doing that." Cole further points out that while the old system is less structured it did have its advantages. "It prevented the majority from always dominating. It ensured that someone in the minority still had his point of view represented," Cole said. The City Manager strongly supports this new system and is optimistic about its results. "The last dozen appointments were done with this process. People will be appointed after we know what their tech- nical capabilities are," Scott said. " flyor$ business cards letterhead advertisements magazine layout web design 21304470131 or email: silverline@mediaone.net Stocks and Investments Dow Jones! Nasdaq! Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds! Join our Stocks and Inveslment class and learn more about inveslingl Tuesday and Thursday, 3:45-6:15 Beverly Hills High School Legal Careers Learn the practical side of law for everyday life! Conlmcts, small business agreements, parking tickets and other civil and criminal matters will be covered. Study the legal termi- nology and skills needed for high paying entry-level positions as court personnel, legal secretaries and law office support positions Call 310.551.5100 x8292 for more info Monday and Wednesday, 6:30 - 9:00pm Beverly Hills High School 4 Beverly Hills Weekly