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Cicero: Hiring process stirs debate

"Unless otherwise specified in town law, the town board has the authority to hire individuals to fill vacancies as they occur. Recommendations from supervisory staff and department heads may be sought and considered before any appointments are approved by the town board."

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The employment vacancy for the town comptroller position was posted, and a special meeting was scheduled for Wednesday June 20 at 9 a.m. at the town hall. All board members as well as the media (Star-News) were notified about the special meeting Monday morning. Zambrano and fellow councilor Charlotte Tarwacki did not attend.

At the special meeting, Dudzinski made the motion to approve the hiring of Kulesa. The motion was approved three votes to none. Rybak, Dudzinski and deputy supervisor Jim Corl voting yes.

But Zambrano, and Tarwacki, remain unsatisfied.

"I feel the residents of Cicero aren't getting a fair deal," Zambrano said. "I didn't get to see the resumes of the rest of the applicants, on that basis I can't say that this is an acceptable process, it's not her (Kulesa) fault, it has nothing to do with her."

"This whole process is inadequate," Tarwacki said. "I began the interview by taking resumes and filtering them out. I think we'd be better served if we could all pick the applicant."

Open meetings

The state Open Meetings Law governs all meetings of "public bodies." Section 102 reads, in part: "'Public body' means any entity, for which a quorum is required in order to conduct public business and which consists of two or more members, performing a governmental function for the state or for an agency or department thereof "

Thus, if more than two councilors gathered to discuss this or any other job vacancy, a public meeting would have to be called. The media must be alerted two days prior to the meeting and the town must post notification of the 'now public' meeting at a proper location.

According to Dudzinski, the comptroller's hiring went by the book.

"If there are three or more (board members) present then the process becomes a public meeting," Dudzinski said. "I don't believe that anyone's interview should be public, leaving them open to scrutiny."

"I'm very upbeat about this hiring," Rybak said. "There are a lot of plusses, the comptroller's office is a very important office. It will be a learning experience for the first few months but I'm sure she'll adapt wonderfully."

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