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.