City Council Member Asks For Review On Hiring Process Of City Manager

City Council Member Asks For Review On Hiring Process Of City Manager

Nico Payne

The city of Indio has hired a new city manager, but not everyone on the city’s council approves of the new hire. We spoke to council members on this issue, some calling the hiring process flawed, while others are ready to move forward in filling the vacant position.

“I have reason to believe that we have undergone a flawed and unlawful process,” said Oscar Ortiz, Indio Councilmember.

Ortiz calling on Riverside County to investigate the recent hiring process.

“I would like to let our community know that I am requesting a civil grand jury investigation by Riverside County into the hiring process that we have recently gone through,” explained Ortiz.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, the city of Indio approved the hiring of Bryan Montgomery who will start his position as city manager on May 13th. But the approval did not come without controversy, with members on the city council raising concern.

According to The EastBay Times, Montgomery was selected from a pool of 58 candidates following a nationwide executive recruitment search. In 2009 Montgomery was caught in a controversial mortgage deal that was eventually dropped and he apologized for it, as he continued to work as city manager.

Ortiz is abstaining from any vote to hire Montgomery says he cannot be specific with his reasoning until an investigation is complete.

“I can’t be specific because we need to make sure that investigation is able to proceed in the right way,” said Ortiz.

The city attorney of Indio, Roxanne Diaz issuing a statement that reads:

“First, I would like to make clear that the City Council is not requesting an investigation into the hiring process of the City Manager.  Mr. Ortiz informed me that he was personally requesting an investigation by the County and he reiterated that statement in his comments at the City Council meeting last night.  I do not know the basis for his request. I am confident in the recruitment process on behalf of the City of Indio for the City Manager position.  The recruitment initially began internally, with the development of a recruitment brochure and the placement of advertisements with organizations and periodicals that are directly related to local government.  In order to cast a wider pool of applicants, we hired a well-known and reputable executive search firm, Ralph Andersen & Associates, whom works exclusively with public entities like cities and counties.  Ralph Andersen took the lead on the nationwide search,  and their search process included all the elements of a professional recruitment, such as the development of a comprehensive position profile, personal outreach to candidates, a marketing strategy for the advertisement of the position, a screening process of the resumes received, facilitation of the interview process and conducting background checks, among other tasks.  After consideration of the resumes, the City Council conducted interviews of potential candidates and ultimately Mr. Montgomery was selected for appointment to the position.”

We reached out to the city of Oakley where Montgomery has worked since 2005, but the city did not respond to our request for an interview.

“This is the most powerful staff position in our city and they oversee our funding of over $150 million dollars a year and also the discussion regarding our budgets taxes and policies and many other very important aspects of our city government,” added Ortiz.

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