Two high-profile vacancies at Washington City Hall have been filled this year with internal candidates, but not before multiple candidates were interviewed.
City Administrator Darren Lamb and newly named Community and Economic Development Director Sal Maniaci both had been city employees before climbing up the ladder to their respective posts.
Mayor Sandy Lucy explained city leaders did their due diligence during the hiring process, creating an equitable process to seek the candidates who fit best in the positions.
“In the last several years we have changed our hiring practices,” she noted. “We don’t give preferential treatment to staff — they apply just like everyone else.”
“We’re requiring everyone to go through the same process,” Lucy added.
Even though the internal candidates fell under the same scrutiny as external applicants, Lucy noted there are advantages to current staff for new roles.
“One positive is they have established relationships with the community,” she said.
Both Lamb and Maniaci are Washington natives.
Lamb was tapped in May for the city administrator’s position that was vacated by Jim Briggs who retired earlier in the year.
Lamb was the city of Washington economic development director from 2010-2017. Prior to that he was the city’s director of planning and engineering. He took that position in 2001.
Now, Maniaci replaces Lamb in the economic development role, while maintaining his current responsibilities.
He has been employed with the city since January 2016. Prior to that he was a planner for Jefferson County since May 2014.
There were committees comprised of city and community leaders who made the recommendation for each Lamb and Maniaci.
When the city embarked on hiring a new administrator, it enlisted the help of The Quality Coach!
A nine-member committee interviewed eight of the 71 applicants for the position. Committee members were Mayor Lucy; Jennifer Giesike, Washington Area Chamber of Commerce president; Aldermen Jeff Mohesky and Steve Sullentup; Washington businessmen Arnie Sallaberry, Bill Straatmann and John Vietmeier; local attorney Kurt Voss; and Tim Frankenberg, with the Washington Fire Company.
A slightly different process was used to hire Maniaci, but a committee also was used for his selection.
There were 19 applicants for the economic development position and eight were interviewed. Three candidates were called back for a second interview with the hiring committee.
That committee included Lamb, the Washington 353 executive committee of Bill Miller Sr., Pete Tobben, Bob Dobsch and Tim Unnerstall; Mayor Lucy, Giesike and Councilman Sullentrup.
Maniaci’s new role as community and economic development director begins Oct. 1 and it will encompass his current duties of city planner.
The combination of the positions is part of an overall restructuring at city hall.
The city eliminated the position of assistant city administrator after it was vacated earlier this year.
In May the city established a new position of director of public services which oversees the engineering, water/wastewater, parks and street departments.
John Nilges who has been city engineer, was appointed to that role in June.
City officials also are searching for a human resource generalist, also a new position.
According to Lamb, the duties of the human resource generalist had been conducted by other staff members including the city clerk, administrator and finance officer.