The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 29, 2013

City considers transit hire

(Continued)

OTTUMWA —

LaPoint said it’s disappointing Meyers would say this.

“Nobody chased either one of those two out [Mark Hagist or Diane Gawronski],” LaPoint said. “I’m taken aback. It bothers me that that comment was made that two directors ran off. Two directors did not run off.”

Niner said he has no idea why the council would remove anyone from the OTA board.

“That’s the first time I’ve heard that comment,” he said. “It’s a way better board than what it used to be.

“All I do is if people call me I get them the answers. I don’t know why they think I was too involved in that interview thing. I was just a bystander all day listening.”

Niner said he thought the interview process went well.

“I thought it was way better as far as getting an across-the-board discussion going about what we need down there and what we don’t need,” Niner said. “But anytime a councilman throws his name in the hat like that, it creates a lot of problems for everybody.”

Councilman J.R. Richards said he didn’t want a councilman on the interview committee in order to avoid any possible biases with another councilman applying for the position.

“It’s a sad situation and the hiring procedure isn’t clear to us,” Richards said. “We don’t really have any rules on when and where councilmen can’t be on a commission. So Mitch and Bob [LaPoint] did nothing illegal. It’s just my personal feeling that they shouldn’t be on that committee because it gives them a double vote, it gives them many, many votes.”

Richards said he did attend one of the interviews on Friday, though he only sat in the audience and did not participate.

“My concern is of one council person having too much influence on the final choice,” Richards said.

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