Gary Hoffmann, the new interim general manager of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) was introduced at a special board meeting on Tuesday (July 30).
With board President Bonnie McLane lauding his credentials, Hoffmann said he was there “to help the district fulfill its mission and to help the board accomplish it.”
The board also recognized the services of Kelly Shively who has served as interim general manager for the past few months. He is now the operations manager.
However, Hoffmann’s hiring did nothing to reduce dissension at the meetings as board member Norm Krizl questioned if the district had a contract with Hoffmann, as he had not seen it. McLane responded, saying she signed Hoffmann’s contract after Interim Counsel John Knowlton and Hoffmann worked out the details.
Krizl then criticized that action, saying the contract should have been made available to board members before it was signed, noting that, “There’s been tons of criticism for contracts being let without board review and hiring a temporary head of this agency is a pretty important thing and that should have been made available to the board.”
Board member Kathy Otermat said the major points of the contract were discussed during the interviews. However, Krizl maintained the board should have had the chance to review it before it was signed by McLane.
Knowlton apologized, saying he thought everyone had received a copy of the contract. He added that the major issues discussed in closed session had not changed.
Krizl reiterated the point that the contract should have been made available to the entire board and the public before it was signed. “Once again we have gone through an inappropriate hiring process in hiring someone into an important position,” he said, adding that his comments were in no way a reflection on Hoffmann’s qualifications.
“Increasingly we come to board meetings and there’s stuff on here (the agenda) and I haven’t seen anything or heard anything about it whatsoever,” said Krizl, saying he is frequently handed things at board meetings that he’s expected to read and vote on during the meeting.
“It’s not the right way to go,” he said. “We should have it in advance. For someone who reports to the board, and for the board not to have seen the contract prior to it being ratified is huge. It is emblematic of what has been going on here. Things are going on behind the scenes that other directors are not aware of.”
McLane then apologized, saying it was an oversight on her part.
“That’s it?” asked Krizl. “So I can’t review the contract before it’s signed? You’re denying a board member the right to review a contract for the general manager who is going to work for all five of us before it’s signed?”
McLane then gaveled an end to the discussion and moved on to the next agenda item, which was a job description for the general manager. Board member Ray Griffiths said that only Otermat, McLane and Maria Capraun had any input into the job description, to which Capraun suggested he forward any additions to her.
Resident Dennis Goodenow recommended the board focus more on a skill set rather than just job duties. He said that would help them find a “superstar” for the position. Public relations skills are particularly important, said Goodenow.
On the other hand, resident Jack Podsedly thought it wasn’t necessary for the new general manager to either have a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of experience as a general manager. They might cut out lots of good people that way, he suggested.
The board also discussed what process to use in recruiting a new general manager. Capraun suggested using a professional recruiting firm that she estimated would cost around $40,000. Otermat suggested, instead, that the board consider using the personnel firm HR2GO since they previously helped coordinate efforts to hire a new office manager.
Hoffmann was asked to consult with HR2GO and to report back to the board at its next meeting on the firm’s ability to do that kind of recruiting.
In an e-mail from Capraun following the meeting, she stated Krizl will be allowed to examine the contract before it’s released publicly.
The next regular meeting of the board is on Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. at the district office.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.