Concerning David Forbes' March 3 article on the recent appointment of Holly Shriner to the city of Asheville's Planning and Zoning Commission: Excuse my possible naiveté, but it seems to me that in our "advanced" age of management, City Council would use a rubric or something similar to guide its decision-making about appointments to boards and commissions. Does it?
Each candidate would be asked the same questions (which are ranked in importance to the performance of the job), the answers would be ranked in value/quality according to the stated qualifications for the appointment, and the scores would be tallied — perhaps including some room for subjective observations of each Council member…. The person(s) with the most points would get the appointment.
Certainly, one of the basic questions that should be asked would be, "Do you have now or could you possibly have any conflicts of interest that might influence your decision-making, and if so, what would these be?" How could Esther Manheimer or any other Council member not have known that Shriner's husband owns a major piece of property that he is seeking to develop?
Additionally, Manheimer commented that appointing a "stay at home" mom would offer a different perspective to the commission because the board has only one woman on it. Is she saying that this was an "affirmative action" appointment? My understanding of affirmative action is that when there are two candidates for one position who have similar qualifications, the person who is from an historically underrepresented segment of society is given the appointment. Can Manheimer show us that this is the case here?
I think Council needs to do some work in terms of creating a clear, transparent and replicable process for the application, interview and decision-making procedures for appointments.
— Anne Craig