Hiring administrator should involve public
Leavenworth County commissioners are embarking on untrodden ground as they go about hiring a county administrator, and in doing so they should consider opening the process to the public.
Commissioners this week will begin interviewing candidates. Those interviews will be conducted behind closed doors. There's nothing wrong with commissioners privately weeding out the field as the process begins. Likewise, it can be advantageous to give candidates an opportunity to decline any offers to become a finalist for the job before his or her name is linked to it.
Commissioners should, however, consider conducting public question-and-answer sessions with the finalists before a job offer is made. The job, after all, already is basked in controversy. It will be among the most visible in county government, and the successful candidate should possess the ability to shine in the public spotlight.
That's not to say the final decision on whom to hire should be a public referendum. Such a decision resides solely with the commissioners. But involving the public can offer commissioners a perspective they might not otherwise see.