Hiring Processes

The Scene from Whitewater, Wisconsin Whitewater’s public bodies (city, school district, university) have over the years hired more than one person; they’ll keep doing so. (Those who have asked if two of last week’s posts were about a hiring process are right to think so, but only in part. Those posts were also about broad trends within the city. See  The Winnowing Transition and Policies & Actions.)

A few key points:

1. The Proper Measure. The best way to judge a hiring process, for a police chief or any other position, is both by the integrity of the process and its result. Both are important: a good process and a good result.

2. Responsibility. Fair enough, if this city wants to manage its own hiring process. One should be clear, though, that (1) past advocacy of a consultant-led process rested on a concern about city-managed inadequacy, (2) that concern was founded, (3) even consultant-led processes can and have been shabbily conducted to favor insiders’ preferences yet (4) whatever process Whitewater chooses will be the responsibility of the city’s appointed and elected officials (in both integrity and result).

3. Patience Rests on a Good Foundation. One can, and should, watch all this unfold patiently and dispassionately, relying on Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law (Wis. Stats. §§ 19.81-19.98), her Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39), and most of all the enduring standards on which America rests. (Hyperlocalism in standards, however often pushed, is a bottom-shelf approach.)

It seems accurate (if truly unfortunate) to contend that these next several years will be hard for Whitewater, and so while one always hopes for good processes & outcomes, it’s a cautious hope, derived from experience.