The City of Ashland, along with the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission, states clearly its intent and priorities for the hiring process.

“… The City of Ashland is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against an employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, national origin or mental or physical disability unless based on a bonafide occupational qualification.

The website states further a clearly defined job application process

“…. All employment opportunities with the City of Ashland and Parks & Recreation are posted on our EMPLOYMENT PAGE first.”

And further:

“Great teams thrive in healthy, respectful work environments.  The City of Ashland believes in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in our hiring practices.

“Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission

The purpose:  the residents of the City of Ashland (City) want all people, regardless of origin, race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, age, marital status, familial status, disability, or income level, to be accorded respect, equal opportunities, and unbiased justice and want diversity, individuality, civility, and creative initiative to be welcomed and celebrated in their city…”

Despite these goals, along with procedures stated in clear detail about the hiring process, the hiring of our new Deputy City Manager was not open to interested applicants. This job opportunity was never listing on the City’s pages. No one had an opportunity to apply for the open position. This recent hire happened without any application process for this job position.

 When I inquired about this egregious oversight, I got the following response from the Legal Department:

The Deputy City Manager (DCM) was a candidate for the City Manager position in Ashland. The City Council interviewed the individual selected to be the DCM as part of its selection process for the City Manager position.  Based on the vetting the new DCM underwent as part of the national search for the City Manager position, and with the recommendation of the City Council, the City Manager conducted his own interview and background review of the DCM to determine if they were a good candidate for the DCM position with the City of Ashland.  From his assessment, the need to add managerial capacity in the City Manager’s office and, also, based on the importance of developing organizational expertise for the potential future City Manager succession, an offer was extended to the individual for the DCM position.

This response begs the question – clearly it shows that only one person was considered for this position. No matter how qualified and well vetted our new hire is, every job opening must be listed for all to apply, not only one preselected individual. There are additional steps on the City website that state very clearly about the hiring process.

In regard to the hiring of the Deputy City Manager, none of these steps were executed. There was neither a job listing nor job description (different from the job description of the City Manager) and therefore no other qualified candidates were considered.

Neglecting to list an open job and, instead, hiring a preselected individual, is a serious violation of the stated policies of the City of Ashland. Any job openings, along with job descriptions must be posted first so that suitable applicants may apply, even if the City is also using an outside recruitment firm. There are also many websites that list government job openings and have the potential of both saving recruitment fees as well as widen the search to people who might be looking to move here.

The hiring process for the position of Deputy City Manager is clearly in violation of the City’s stated procedures and priorities in employment. The seriousness of these omissions, and violations of procedure, must be addressed in Council and corrected.

Leda Shapiro, Ashland