The hiring of the next Verona administrator has no specified end date.
To reduce the risk of a limited talent pool or having to reopen the process and extend it, as happened in 2016, the city will set two preliminary review dates – the first being April 7 – but keep the job posting open until the right person is found.
Verona is looking for a successor to Jeff Mikorski, whom the Common Council asked to resign in January, five days after starting its annual review process. His lone completed performance evaluation, for 2017, pointed out deficient communication in several areas.
The council reviewed but did not vote on a job description for the position prepared by human resources coordinator Mitch Weckerly and requested one adjustment Monday, Feb. 25 – requiring knowledge and understanding of state and local laws. Mikorski came to Verona from Morgantown, W. Va., which, among other differences, relied on business taxes to fund its government, rather than property taxes.
The council also changed the previously discussed time frame of 30 to 45 days. Both suggestions came at the behest of Ald. Evan Touchett (Dist. 4), who pointed out that he is in the midst of hiring at the engineering firm he works for and has had the position open 75 days.
“We would do ourselves a disservice if we end up with a mis-hire,” Touchett said.
Weckerly had suggested the previous week if a job is open too long, the city could lose ready and willing applicants to jobs that move faster. And alders had generally expressed an interest in not dragging out the process despite having an interim chosen and on the job.
Ald. Sarah Gaskell (D-2) in particular had concerns with stretching it out, saying Weckerly had come up with “a good strategy.”
“By showing we have a deadline, we show we’re serious, that we expect to get a good candidate,” she said.
The compromise, suggested by Ald. Charlotte Jerney (D-3) still sets a 38-day window for the first set of applicants, but those applicants now will be reviewed and narrowed down while any other applicants who apply after that deadline would be next in line. If the first group is strong enough, the city might not review the other applications.
The key, Weckerly said, is communicating the deadlines both in the posting and when applications are submitted.
Several alders and the mayor volunteered to review cover letters after the first review date, and the council or Personnel committee likely will discuss the applicants April 14.
The second review date, if necessary, was not determined.