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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Csaba Kulin brings some common sense perspective to the Hallandale Beach City Manager search debacle of Wednesday night

What follows is a copy of an email from this morning from my friend and Hallandale Beach civic activist, Csaba Kulin, to the Hallandale Beach City Commission, responding to their truly jaw-dropping performance Wednesday night, the subject of my last post.
He watched the commission meeting via the Internet.
http://fl-hallandalebeach.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=717

In case you forgot, the cc recipient below, David Jove, is the HB city attorney.

Here's what was supposed to be discussed:

http://fl-hallandalebeach.civicplus.com/files/2010-09-15/Staff%20Reports/00005963.htm

CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA

MEMORANDUM

NR10-043

DATE: September 07, 2010
TO: Honorable Mayor and City Commission
FROM: Nydia M. Rafols Sallaberry, Deputy City Manager
SUBJECT: Agenda Item – Discussion of Hiring a City Manager –
CAD# 017/10



Pursuant to City Commission’s adopted schedule on the subject, Colin Baenziger, with Colin Baenziger & Associates, will be presenting to the City Commission the list of semi-finalist candidates for the position of City Manager during the September 15, 2010, Regular City Commission Meeting. Furthermore, Mr. Baenziger has advised staff that he will be available on September 16, 2010 to meet with each Commissioner to answer and discuss questions the Commissioner(s) might have regarding the semifinalists’ information. Finally, it should also be noted that per the adopted schedule, the City Commission should receive the semi-finalist materials on September 14th. Staff will be forwarding these as soon as they are received.

In the meantime, should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

NMR

-------
Here is Csaba's email:

Mayor Joy Cooper
Vice Mayor William Julian
Keith London
Commissioner Dorothy Ross
Commissioner Anthony Sanders
cc Mr. David Jove

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM
subject Agenda item 7A, Hiring of City Manager

Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor and Members of the City Commission,

I am very disappointed in the way the selection process was conducted and the way it ended.

I was
very optimistic at the beginning that a reputable firm was hired to conduct a search for a new city manager, decided on the qualifications of the applicant, identify a certain number of applicants meeting those requirements and the Commission deciding the best person for the job.

Once the above process started, the job was posted in newspapers and other sources a "CONE OF SILENCE" should have been imposed on each and everyone on the Commission. This is the procedure in every other contract the Commission or the City intends to enter into. It is the only fair way and legal way to treat all applicants equally in the process till it is time for the Commission to make a decision on finalists and eventual hiring.

That not the way the process played out. First, the Commission changed the qualifications required to apply from having a masters degree to "preferred" to have one to suit one applicant. At that point the job postings should have been repeated. Some applicants may have decided not to apply due to the master's degree requirement.

The second point is, from the very beginning all through the process there was praise of one applicant from all of you. Recently when the Commission hired a new auditor I did not hear you constantly praising the then current auditor. There was a "cone of silence".

My third point is that during the September 15, 2010 City Commission meeting Agenda item 7A said "discussion of hiring of city manager". That is not what transpired. Your Honor, you started out with a statement that in a nutshell said that you decided that you want to hire Mr. Antonio and let us stop the process and hire him. How is that fair to all the others who took the time, effort and money to apply. If you took that approach to selecting an auditor, I would think the City would find itself in court.

Now I just wait for the "other shoe to drop" and see the Commission to give Mr. Antonio a contract like Mr. Good had with a large increase in salary. Just for comparison sake, Cuyahoga County in Ohio (over a million residents) looking for a new County Administrator (manager). The salary is $175,000.00. Salaries in Florida should be lower than up North due to the nice weather year around and much lower in a city of about 38,000 residents.

I hope each and everyone of you look at the fairness of the process and ask yourself if you think it was the best this City Commission can do? How can you be sure that you hired the best applicant you had? The process was so tilted to one way that we may never know. There is always going to be a question as to what if?

I know, you are going to argue that hiring a city manager is different from hiring an auditor, but in honesty, is it?

I intend to bring this issue up during the public meeting and ask our city attorney if this process conformed with the letter and the spirit of the law. Please do your research ahead of the time I will ask the question.
Sincerely,
Csaba Kulin
President, Fairways North, Inc.
VP, United Condominium Associations of Hallandale Beach

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