City’s failed search

The extensive and ultimately fruitless search for Minot’s new city manager gives us and residents cause for concern.

A short recap: Current city manager Dave Waind is retiring at the end of March. Some 36 candidates applied for the position. A search committee narrowed the list to three finalists: current Minot finance director Cindy Hemphill; Greg Sund, former Dickinson city administrator and current Ellis County, Kan., administrator; and Kevin?Degenstein, a Minot native working for an energy company in Great Falls, Mont.

Late last week, the city announced via press release that Hemphill had been offered the city manager job, but turned it down, saying she could better serve the city’s residents in her current job. Search committee members could not reach a consensus on the other two finalists, so the process will start over when the city re-advertises the position.

We wonder: If Hemphill had any doubts about taking the position if it was offered, why did she go through the entire process, which included extensive interviews and luncheons to introduce the finalists to the public? If her doubts surfaced at any time before she was offered the job late last week, she absolutely had a responsibility to take herself out of consideration. She did not do that.

We do agree with Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman, who said last week that the city manager position is vital to the city’s future and that Minot leaders should do whatever they can to find the right person for the job. But we also worry that the ultimate and public failure of the initial search process could make it difficult for the city to attract quality candidates when it decides to advertise the position again. We hope that isn’t the case, but the current situation hasn’t exactly put the city in a great light.