City Hall: What is going on?

While we wait for all the details to emerge from the late Friday afternoon firing of Minot’s city attorney, we nonetheless can’t help but wonder:?What the heck is going on at City Hall?

No doubt we will eventually hear both sides of the story, as Colleen Auer details the reasons she believes she was illegally fired as Minot’s city attorney after roughly a month on the job and city officials, at some point, defend the decision to fire Auer. But details aside, the latest episode at city hall also raises a much bigger question in our mind: How can the city seemingly continue to bungle the hiring process?

You might recall the recent fiasco over replacing David Waind as city manager. After an extensive search process, the final three candidates were interviewed and took part in public question and answer sessions. Cindy Hemphill, the city’s finance director, was offered the city manager position, but turned down the job. City officials then decided to start the search process over instead of hiring one of the other two finalists.

Now Hemphill is interim city manager, and is smack in the middle of the latest episode, which culminated in Auer’s firing last week.

We question the validity of the city’s recruitment efforts in finding a new city attorney. If Auer was so bad at her job that she had to be fired after only a month, why weren’t those traits evident in the interview process? Who signed off on her hiring?

Without knowing all the details, we’re not yet taking sides in the Auer vs. the City battle. But the dispute, even if the city is found to have done everything legally and for good reason, certainly raises red flags when considering the entire process of filling important positions at the city.