“Then why have a committee?” asked Dougherty.

“I see our role to be a forum,” said Mazziotti. “I assume most if not all the members of this board will be attending that [June 24] meeting.”

Asking the questions

Commissioner Michael Schware asked if a commissioner must ask all candidates the same question during the interviews or if different questions can be put to different candidates.

Osborne said the same question would be answered by every candidate, which “disallows” specific questions to specific candidates. “That may be the fairest way.”

“I don’t see anywhere in the process where we really have the opportunity to get to know that person specifically versus just hearing them giving us what everyone else is giving,” said Schware.

Jones joined Schware in favoring different questions being put to different candidates: “It shouldn’t be the same uniform question, because not everybody is bringing the same skill set.”

Jones objected that “my evaluative criteria for how I come to make a decision is being set for me. In no other venue or platform in what we do as commissioners are we constrained or limited in the type or scope of questions that we ask.”

Jones complained he was being “handcuffed” on a very important issue.

Asking different questions of each candidate would take longer, said Scheller.

Osborne said the idea of doing personal one-on-one interviews with each candidate, with no one else in the room, was ruled out as impractical.

Osborne suggested if commissioners have specific questions they want answered by specific candidates, they should get in touch with them before June 24.

But, based on the feedback he received, Osborne also promised to have some informal discussions with his fellow commissioners to further explore “how those questions will be allowed to be asked.”

Dougherty said if each candidate is asked the same question, “you’re not going to get good answers. The first person is put on the spot.
The last person has heard all the answers so far and can do better.”

Several other commissioners said that can be handled by having a different person answer first for each new question.

Added Osborne: “If your answer is the same as everyone else’s for the same question, you didn’t stand out.”