Councilmen unhappy with president's city manager committee

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Marcia Nelesen
Thursday, August 8, 2013

JANESVILLE--Two Janesville City Council members say they were frozen out of the process to create the resident committee that will interview city manager candidates later this month.

The committee will interview candidates Friday, Aug. 23, and members will share their impressions with the council later that night.

Councilmen Sam Liebert and DuWayne Severson put the issue of the 11-member ad hoc committee on Monday's council agenda.

Both said they would not expel anyone from the committee but do want to add names.

Liebert said Council President Kathy Voskuil was wrong when she chose the committee members alone and when she did not include representatives of labor or minorities.

Severson said he is happy with the current makeup but wants to suggest his own committee member.

Both said they believed they were going to have a chance to nominate committee members.

 “I feel that as an equal member on the common council, my position has been usurped and overrided,” Liebert said.

The ad hoc committee does not reflect the “real” face of Janesville, Liebert said. He would add people to represent the city's minority population and also from “the house of labor."

Said Severson: “Sam and I just want to see what's best for our community and make sure everybody from our community is represented.”

Voskuil, who announced the committee makeup in late July, said she based her choices by considering the priorities council members included in recruitment materials. The council identified economic development as its first priority, she said.

Committee members also represent many other facets of city life, Voskuil said.

City union representatives are scheduled to meet candidates Thursday, Aug. 22.

Any resident is welcome to meet the candidates at a community reception Thursday, after which they can volunteer input to attending council members.

Voskuil said she was surprised to see the item show up on the agenda and will see Monday what other council members have to say.

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