Citizen's View: Maximizing residents' talents
I read with interest the Citizen's View article last week that was written by former City Councilor Joe Buck ("City officials must back words with real change," Feb. 7). It said the selection of members for two advisory groups did not further the goal of having those advisory groups represent the community as a whole.
The City Council's interview committee is made up of the council liaison to the advisory group, the group's chair, and one other council member. In both selection committees mentioned by Mr. Buck, I was one of the members.
We are fortunate in Lake Oswego because we usually get many more applicants for board and committee membership than there are positions available. Selecting the best candidate on the basis of their background, resume and a 15-minute interview can be a difficult job. Nevertheless, council members do their best to select the most qualified persons to fill the vacancies.
Sometimes, an applicant is re-applying for the position and, if that applicant has served well during their previous term, they are given some preference, leaving fewer slots for newer candidates. That was the situation in both of the instances cited by Mr. Buck in his article.
Typically, interview questions have been prepared prior to any interview session, and the same questions are asked of each candidate. Based on the resume and the answers to questions, candidates are selected.
As Mr. Buck stated in his article, the City is in the process of organizing a task force to look at ways to ensure everyone has equal access to City services and activities, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. We are also modifying our selection process for committees and boards to gain a wider pool of applicants and thereby get more diversity on our advisory committees.
Our goal remains the same as before — to maximize the benefit to our City that can be realized as a result of the talents of our residents.
Kent Studebaker is the mayor of Lake Oswego.