17 vie to fill Marchione council seat

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Seventeen people have applied to replace Alan Marchione on the Maricopa City Council. The next step is for councilmembers to email up to three of their top choices to Mayor Christian Price.

Those who overlap – are selected by more than one person – will be asked to return for public interviews during a special meeting of the council. A date for the meeting has not been set.

The 17 are: Gerardo Avila, Dominic Bailin, John Beatty, Jeffrey Blevins, Peggy Chapados, Lee Feiles, Joan Garrett, Linda Huggins, Rachel Leffall, Rosalinda O’Hare, Marlene Pearce, Shawn Schlegel, Eric Schmidt, Jay Shaver, Phyllis Von Fleckinger, William Wright, and Ted Yocum.

Councilmembers laid out the selection process during Tuesday’s meeting, at which time nearly all of the candidates briefly introduced themselves.

Councilwoman Julia Gusse advised against setting a hard limit on the number of candidates to interview.

“When I look into this, it’s not who you know, it’s what you know,” Gusse said. “I know a lot of individuals on this list; I know them or (know) of them. But at the same time we owe it to all the individuals that I don’t know, to make sure that they’re considered.”

All interviewees will be asked the same questions from a template developed in conjunction with the city attorney to avoid potential human resources violations.

“I don’t know what level of knowledge each of you have in hiring procedures, but I would certainly not want to have a situation where you either ask something that would be potentially embarrassing to the council or the candidate,” City Manager Brenda Fischer said.

Councilmembers will add to the template by emailing the mayor up to three questions they would like included.

“The benefit of that is, let’s say I was asking a tougher question if I was council member, the person at the dais doesn’t really know who submitted that question,” Fischer said. “So they don’t feel like they’re being targeted by that council member.”

The order of interviews will be determined by drawing numbers out of a hat. Interviewees will be sequestered outside the room while the current hopeful is questioned. After the interview, however, the applicant will be able to remain in the room and listen to the other interviews.

Once everyone has been interviewed, the council will narrow down their selection and make the appointment that night and the winner will be sworn in.