Special Executive Session Called at City Hall
UPDATE: City Commissioner Shawn Masters has issued a statement about the executive session meeting, confirming that it is in regards to interviewing potential fire chiefs. Here is Masters's statement in full:
Recently, the city manager and members of commission, made the determination that they should swiftly move forward with hiring a new fire chief. While I have implored the mayor and commission to allow the incoming commission to make this decision, my request has fallen on deaf ears. The public should know that I refuse to participate in the interviewing of candidates for this position. The city manager has made it clear that he wishes to open the process up and has asked us to seriously consider hiring from outside of the department. I disagree with this approach, and have expressed as such.
Local 38 and the firefighters have, particularly after Mayor Scheper got involved in negotiations, worked diligently with this commission on concessions and have agreed to settlements that have saved the city millions of dollars. To shut the door on internal candidates is a slap in the face to the progress we have made with our unions, particularly Local 38. I firmly believe that Interim Chief Matthew has the capability to maintain that department sufficiently, and efficiently, until a new sitting commission is place. To rush into making this decision, when we have only a few months remaining, makes me suspect of our city manager's motive behind this decision.
I, again, implore this commission to refrain from interviewing and allow the 2013 Commission to make this decision. It is the appropriate thing to do.
The Covington City Commission will meet in closed executive session Monday at 8:30AM. A notice was sent to the media from Assistant City Manager Frank Warnock's office. The notice does not offer any clues as to why the special executive session was called but at last Tuesday night's public city commission meeting, the mayor and city commissioners went into executive session to discuss what would be announced as The Hotel Covington two days later. There may be another development opportunity but the city commission also meets in executive session to discuss personnel issues and the fire department is lacking a permanent chief.
The Covington firefighters union announced two weeks ago that they hoped the city would hire from within. Dan Mathew is serving as acting fire chief and has applied for the position as has Chris Black, president of the union. No other candidates are publicly known at this time.
The city commission also meets in closed executive session to discuss pending litigation and specific proposals from business entities.
This story may be updated.