OTTUMWA — A new Ottumwa Transit director has been named, but not without criticism of the interview process.
Current interim director Dave Silverio will advance to the position, pending Ottumwa City Council approval next week.
“After interviewing all of the candidates, the selection committee made the recommendation that we wanted to have the offer extended to Dave Silverio,” said OTA board member Shannon Addison.
But Councilman Jeremy Weller, who applied for the job, told the Courier that “this whole process has been somewhat of a joke, to be honest, as to who was going to sit on the selection committee.
“That was changed, and changed again, and even changed the day of the interviews last Friday. It’s just been a fiasco. It’s been a flawed process.”
City Administrator Joe Helfenberger and City Attorney Joni Keith both refused to comment on any personnel matters.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a little bit of fallout,” Weller said. “I’ve asked, and I think there’s some council support there, is to change the way the [Ottumwa Transit Advisory Board] is made up.”
He said Friday’s interview selection committee was made up of eight people: Helfenberger; Keith; Addison; Bob Bourne, retired Ames Transit System administrator previously hired by the city after Ottumwa Transit was shaken three years ago; 10-15 Transit Advisory Board members Lee Dimmitt, Jefferson County supervisor, and Dennis Smith, Lucas County supervisor; OTA board chairman Robert LaPoint; and Councilman and OTA board liaison Mitch Niner.
While it had previously been decided that Councilmen Niner and Bob Meyers should not serve on the interview selection committee due to any appearance of a conflict of interest, Niner was seated on the interview committee on Friday.
“It was my understanding that Niner and I would not participate in the actual interview process,” Meyers said. “But as the days for the interviews were approaching, I find that Councilman Niner is, in fact, going to attend.”