Friday, January 6, 2012

City Manager Baity

According to a press release sent out by the mayor, Kevin Baity will be the next city manger:

The Carbondale City Council has reached a consensus that Mr. Kevin Baity  will serve as the next City Manager of Carbondale.  Mr. Baity has been employed by the City of Carbondale since August 2006 and is currently the city’s Director of Development Services and Interim City Manager.  He was originally hired as the city’s Assistant City Manager for Economic Development.  Prior to coming to Carbondale, Mr. Baity had served as the City Administrator for the City of Flora, IL; the Director of Community Development for the City of Centralia, IL; and the Director of Environmental Health for the Perry County (IL) Health Department.

A Special Carbondale City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm to formalize the decision by voting on an ordinance to approve a City Manager Employment Agreement.  The meeting will be followed by a reception to introduce Mr. Baity to the public as the City Manager.

I find the term "consensus" an interesting choice of wording.  It doesn't say he was voted upon by the council, just that some form of agreement about him.  Apparently the council, or at least the mayor, is making=ng the announcement prior to the actual vote. At least one city council member has concerns about this. From a eamil sent out by councilwoman Jane Adams:

Until we officially vote, our discussions in Executive Session are private. Does the Open Meetings Act allow the Mayor to publicly characterize our private deliberations?

It is entirely proper for the Mayor to call a special Council meeting. However, the press release says that there will be a reception following which will “introduce Mr. Baity to the public as the City Manager.”

Again, no vote has been taken. We discussed, we argued, we debated. We developed a sense of where the majority sentiment lay. Without compromising the confidentiality of our debates, I think I can fairly state that the Mayor was a leader of the majority. But there was no vote. To have voted would have been illegal – a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Until that public vote, Mr. Baity cannot be presumed to be the next City Manager. Nor can there be a presumption of “consensus.”

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