The Barry County Commission’s committee of the whole is recommending a change in the way they recruit citizens to serve on its boards and committees developed by Commissioner Ben Geiger.
The new format is designed to be less intimidating and more effective in attracting candidates for positions. “It is friendlier, easier to get people in the door, let them know what the county is about and find a place for them,” Geiger said.
All applicants would be interviewed in one of three sessions a year by a subcommittee of three commissioners, newspaper ads would still be used, but also an emphasis on targeted ads in Facebook, Geiger said.
Applicants would meet with two or three commissioners for a 15 minute information/interview on a Friday, Saturday or Monday morning, afternoon or evening. They would tell the committee what their interests were and what board they were applying for.
The commissioners could walk them through the application process, tell them what a board does, help them fill out an application and determine where they would likely be a good fit, Geiger said.
Applications would be kept for future openings for another position if not selected initially; now it is discarded if the applicant is not selected for a specific position. Since it would good for many vacancies instead of specific seats, it lends more flexibility, he said.
The short interview sessions would be held three times a year, the first in March to get away from interviewing so many in January. The program has an expiration date of March.
All of the applicants recommended by the subcommittee would be forwarded to the committee of the whole or the board of commissioners for a second interview and selection.
That was the main concern of Commissioner Vivian Conner, who was adamant that all prospects be interviewed by the full board, not a subcommittee of three.
“I don’t want to change the process, I don’t want three people making recommendations; that’s up to all of us...I won’t vote for that; we need the full board.”
Commissioner David Jackson said it was step in the right direction. “It’s got an expiration date. What we’re doing now is not working. If they want to meet with us before interviewing, we can forward everyone who has an interest…I don’t see this board voting people off the island… Maybe this will open some new doors, with marketing, get more good people. “
If the county does go to Facebook, Commissioner Heather Wing said they must have with a strict policy and control. “It’s an important thing; we have to be very careful.”