Cicero: Hiring process stirs debate

Jeanne Kulesa is the town of Cicero's new comptroller. Hired on June 20, Kulesa beat out eight other candidates for the position. The hiring process has stirred up debate on the Cicero Town Board.

Councilor Jessica Zambrano complained to town supervisor Chet Dudzinski in a June 20 letter.

"Please take this as a formal complaint about the selection process for the town comptroller," Zambrano wrote. "There was no prior discussion, and certainly no agreement or resolution, by the entire town board that you and Bill Rybak would screen the resumes of all the applicants and select one final candidate for comptroller."

Zambrano objected to the fact that no screening committee took part in the process.

"It wasn't acceptable, we never talked about a screening committee," Zambrano said. "There should've been a screening committee, the top three applicants should have been selected and there should've been an executive session or special meeting held to select (the new comptroller)."

But Councilor Bill Rybak, the board's liaison to the comptroller's office, said that such a selection committee is not part of the process.

"We've never done that (during the hiring process in the town of Cicero) before," Rybak said.

Rybak, Diane Celluci, deputy comptroller, and Dudzinski interviewed the candidates. Rybak and Celluci looked through the applicants and selected four to interview.

"I did this decision making process to the best of my ability," Rybak said. "We reached into the community and selected the four best candidates, we did what we had to do and ultimately selected the best candidate overall."

Employee selection

There is no mention of a "screening committee" in town law. Section 202, which governs the employee selection process, reads as follows:

"It is the town's policy to hire the best qualified person whenever a vacancy occurs. Employment and promotional opportunities will be either advertised and/or posted and qualified individuals interviewed to fill vacancies as they occur.

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