Flawed process more like a disaster

Note to city council: If you don’t like the process change it at the beginning, not the end.

The Mesquite City Council chose a new city clerk at its Oct. 13 meeting. To say the process was a disaster understates how bad it was. It isn’t so much about the candidates to choose from as it is about those doing the choosing.

At the beginning, the council chose to use the same selection process for the vacant city clerk position that it used to select the current city manager, the fire chief and, to an extent, a council vacancy. That is, a panel of councilors, city employees and others would interview the candidates and score them numerically. The person with the highest score got the job.

That apparently didn’t work so well this time around. The original panel scored an outsider with no city clerk experience the highest. A couple council people and the mayor didn’t like the outcome so they convened a second panel. Interestingly, the outsider again scored the highest and so, by the process chosen, should have gotten the job.

But she didn’t.

The mayor and a couple council people said they wanted someone with experience and familiarity with the job. If that’s the case, then the person who came in fourth out of four should have gotten the job. She had more experience than the other three put together.

But she didn’t.

The person who came in second had more experience than the first or third place person and she had held the position previously. So if experience was the first criteria and familiarity was the second criteria then the second place woman should have gotten the job.

But she didn’t.

At the council meeting and afterwards, several councilors said they didn’t like the process to begin with and didn’t think it worked well. But it’s the same process used for several other key positions without any hesitation on the part of those who this time around said they didn’t like it.

Councilman George Rapson angrily said at the council meeting that defying the process used and selecting someone other than the first place numeric winner smacked of previous mayoral administrations who selected their friends and political allies to fill key positions. That’s true.

Councilman Rich Green, who along with Mayor Al Litman, Councilwoman Cindi Delaney and Councilman Geno Withelder voted for the number three numeric winner for the position, told the Mesquite Local News that selecting the interim incumbent “was the same thing we did for the city attorney position when we had a competent person in place and didn’t go out for other candidates.”

That’s okay if that had been the process used from the beginning.

But it wasn’t.

Mayor Litman told the MLN in a follow-up interview that “familiarity with how we do business in Mesquite” was most important to him and that’s why he nominated the third-place person for the position. “We have no backup in the position. We need someone who’s ready to go Day One.”

That’s an acceptable premise for his nomination if that had been the process used from the beginning.

But it wasn’t.

No one objected to the process until they didn’t like the results of the process.

That’s the wrong time to make objections known. That’s what leads to controversy and charges of prejudice and bias. That’s exactly what we have now.

While several councilors charge that refusing to accept the first place numeric winner has religious bias undertones, the other councilors who voted for the third place numeric winner say that’s not true.

We sincerely hope the charge is flat out false. But we’ll never really know.

By not accepting the end results of the process chosen in the beginning the city council has taken a few steps back from the progress it’s made over the last four years to rid Mesquite of the political hypocrisy we railed against with previous administrations.

We wish the new city clerk good luck and good fortune in her position.

We wish the city council hadn’t done what they did the way they did it.


  1. Steve Clutterham says:

    Once again you’re missing the point that this scoring is strictly on the basis of the interview. Which is basically a personality contest. It does not take into consideration the person’s education, knowledge of the job and the laws involved or overall business experience. If the city has made previous hires based solely on the interview scores under the assumption that everyone was equal up to that point, then that is definitely where the flaw in the system is. Scoring should be on all aspects of the applicants ability to fill the position, not solely on how well they interviewed. Why the #2 candidate did not receive any of the board members votes or interest I can not tell you. Perhaps it was because she interviewed poorly or based on their past experience with her. This is the second time she has lost a chance at this job, who knows why. And what everyone keeps forgetting or overlooking is the fact that HR had no intention of putting her through to the interview process at all because of her minimum level of education and total lack of experience in this field. It was only because HR was pressured to do so that she even made it to the interview process. Which makes sense, why would you want the least qualified person in any job when you have several other more qualified people to choose from? This was a personality contest pure and simple, just like when Cherry first left and they “appointed” Joy city clerk without putting it out to bid. Which I believe is against both city and state by laws.

    • Mindee West says:

      The interviews weren’t a personality contest. Do you know what was asked during the interviews? How do you know questions weren’t directed to the person’s experience, knowledge of the job, understanding of the laws, education background, and ability to perform the duties? I personally WAS in the interviews, and these 5 questions WERE covered. So that’s unfair to make those statements.

      • Steve Clutterham says:

        That’s partially true, and on 3 of 5 of those questions you had no way of knowing any of it. Other than reading up on it, you had no knowledge of the job, no understanding of the laws from first hand experience and no way ability to perform the duties from day one. I am very sure you are a smart educated woman with a quick learning curve, but you certainly were the least educated and experienced in this particular field. I do wish you the best of luck in the future and I am sure you will do well at whatever you do.

        • So what you’re saying is that someone can’t prepare? They can’t take the time to learn the material? They can’t go in there and out perform and out interview your wife who has had the job for too long and still doesn’t know what she should know? That’s what you’re saying? That proves how ridiculous your post is. Traci should’ve known all the answers to the questions but she still wasn’t able to interview well enough and prove herself as the best for the job!!. I’m pretty sure Beck had ZERO municipal experience prior to being the interm clerk. Everyone has to start from the ground and work their way up. Good thing she had experience since she hasn’t nothing else to offer.

    • Steve,
      Your comments are absolutely ridiculous. Of course you’re going to stick up for Mrs. Beck, she’s your wife. That still doesn’t make your comments and thoughts valid. Since she wont, maybe you can do us all a favor and shed some light on the “things” that went on that NONE of the rest us know!! Bring us up to speed as to what really went on behind closed doors. I may be kidding myself but I’m pretty sure you two Could never do this.

  2. B J Adams says:

    Well done. The article hits on the truth. If experienc on the job was crucial it should have been included in the original vetting pricess…not afterward. Keep up the good work. The MLN is turning out to be the only real newspaper in town.

  3. Whattheheck says:

    More proof of why the littman administration will go down as one of the worse administrations in the history of mesquite.
    Why do you think there is NO growth here except for dollar stores and taco shops.
    Littman and his crew of rapson ,geno,and hafen are the worst example of the old boy network.
    The other 2 just get out voted or beat over the head until they come into line with littman,geno,rapson and hafen.
    Why do you think no big corporate entities come into town after talking to these clowns. They only want here what they can control and profit from.
    Best example of that is what geno pulled at the dump,building houses over there.
    And let us not forget the city issued building permits for the dump.
    Geno , rapson and hafen are not even smitten about it- the self profiters run rapent.
    And littman sees,hears,or does nothing.
    But hey,look at the pro growth under littman- doolar stores and taco places- lol.
    Until there is a uniform process that the dood ol boyz can manipulate,this is what you have- this story is just 1 example of many questionable practices here in mesquite.

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