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UG meetingDuring a break in the May 23 special Unified Government Commission meeting at City Hall, Mayor Mark Holland chatted with UG Administrator Dennis Hays and Commissioner Ann Murguia.
With 18 Unified Government Commission candidates to be interviewed on Thursday, May 30, the UG Commission tonight decided to move up the starting time of interviews.
The 18 are applying for the 1st District at-large UG Commission seat vacated by Mark Holland when he became mayor.
The UG Commission will interview the 18 candidates earlier in the day than originally planned. It may be a long day for the commissioners.
Candidates now should arrive by 12:30 p.m. May 30, and if they are later than 12:45 p.m., their names will be withdrawn from the selection process and they will forfeit, according to Mayor Holland. He said applicants are being notified by email and also by letter of the time change and details. The candidates also have to stay the entire time, until they are told they can leave.
When they arrive, the candidates will draw lots to determine the order of the interviews.
The interviews start at 1 p.m. at the Commission Chambers in the lobby level of City Hall. The public may attend and listen, but the public may not make comments. Each candidate will have five minutes to make a presentation followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period, with questions from commissioners and the mayor only. Only one applicant will be in the room at a time. Cindy Cash, Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce president, will serve as the moderator.
The other applicants will remain in another room in City Hall during the interview time, without access to their cell phones or electronic communications.
Even with the change in time, it’s possible that the commission may not finish its voting and selection of the new commissioner before it has to go into its 7 p.m. regular planning and zoning meeting, according to UG officials. The commission also plans a brief dinner before the 7 p.m. meeting.
In the event it doesn’t finish the selection before 7 p.m., the commission could decide to do final interviews of the top two candidates and take the final vote for the new commissioner after the planning and zoning meeting.
Assistant County Administrator Gary Ortiz developed the new schedule.
At the special meeting tonight, the UG Commission also approved a rule that existing commissioners must be present for all interviews of the applicants in order to vote on them. The only exception will be if the commissioner has made arrangements in advance to participate remotely by telephone.
A memo from Jody Boeding, UG chief counsel, recommended the commissioners’ presence during all the interviews in order to vote “to ensure fairness.” According to her memo, anyone who missed the interviews and then voted would “jeopardize the appearance of fairness and the integrity of the selection process and would open the process to challenge.”
There are two 15-minute breaks built into the day's schedule, but the rules also point out that those who are late getting back to the commission chambers will not be allowed to enter once an interview starts.
In an announcement, the UG said the interviews with the candidates will be broadcast on the local UG cable television channel 2 on Time Warner Cable.
The rules approved tonight outline the details of the voting. Some of the details:
The commission will cast written ballots for one person, and in the first round of voting, the two finalists with the greatest number of votes will be selected. A candidate has to get through the first round of voting to advance.
If two candidates tie for the greatest number, those two would advance to a second round of voting. If three or more tie, those who tied would be the only names on the next ballot. If there is one candidate with the greatest number of votes, followed by two candidates who tie for second, the one with the greatest number would advance, and the next ballot would include the candidates who tied for second. Balloting would continue until that position was filled from those candidates.
After there are two top finalists selected, the second round of interviews will start. There will be presentations of up to 10 minutes by candidates followed by 10-minute question-and-answer sessions. After the end of the interview period, commissioners will cast ballots for one of the two finalists. The person who receives six or more votes will be the next commissioner. In the event of a 5-4 vote, the mayor will cast a vote. If there is a tie after the mayor votes, additional ballots will be taken.