I will be unable to attend the council meeting on Aug. 2, and am consequently expressing my concerns regarding items J, K and L on the consent calendar — all relating to the appointment of Gary Hampton.
You are being asked to approve several resolutions without being provided sufficient information to vote in a responsible manner. As you know, city management chose to forgo a formal search for a new police chief. Although Mr. Hampton may be a fine candidate, it is not possible to rationally judge whether or not the salary and benefit concessions that you are being asked to approve are appropriate. Other equally qualified candidates may be available at both lower cost and lower risk to the city.
In the materials provided in the agenda packet, nearly the entire discussion of Mr. Hampton’s background is cut-and-pasted verbatim from the city’s July 6, 2011, press release extolling Mr. Hampton’s virtues. There is no factual information provided to bear on the following questions:
n What other candidates were considered, and what were their strengths and weaknesses compared to Mr. Hampton?
n What were the salary and benefit requirements of these other candidates? Was any cost-benefit analysis performed to weigh the various candidates?
n What unique attributes does Mr. Hampton possess that justify the additional cost to the city ($34,000 a year) and that makes it in the best interest of the city to forgo a formal search?
n What is the long-term fiscal impact to the city of the proposed salary and benefit package? (Only single-year costs are addressed.)
n How does the at-will employment agreement compare to previous agreements? Are the changes required solely to secure Mr. Hampton’s acceptance of the employment offer? Why are such generous severance terms needed? These terms make Mr. Hampton’s appointment a very risky proposition.
The total cost to the city of Mr. Hampton’s appointment, over the course of a 5-year tenure, will exceed $1,000,000, yet more energy appears to have been devoted to consideration of the purchase of four new police cars than to this appointment.
While several of you may have met Mr. Hampton and approve of his selection, to proceed with this appointment without any examination or consideration of alternatives would be irresponsible. It is akin to my test driving a BMW, finding that it is an excellent solution to my transportation needs, and purchasing it without further consideration. Only after examining the alternatives, being cognizant of my other responsibilities, might I realize that a Ford could be a more proper choice (and might I discover that the Ford had better performance and reliability).
I close with the observation that placing these items on the consent calendar, a repository for routine items requiring no public discussion, is disingenuous at best.