At tonight's special session of the WFB Trustees, 6 candidates were interviewed for retiring Trustee Brennan's position. One applicant withdrew her name prior to the meeting.
The process was to allow each candidate 15 minutes to answer 4 questions:
- Describe your WFB experience, and any skills or talents that you have that would apply to being a Trustee
- What specific areas would you be interested in while serving as a Trustee
- What do you think are three greatest challenges for WFB
- Do you have any questions for the board?
To kibbitz a little .. Question 2 and 3 frequently elicited the same answer. Generally, people talk about what interests them because they see it as a challenge. For example, many answered that they were interested in seeing Silver Spring improved, which, no surprise, is also the answer to the "biggest challenge" question.
Question 4 is a throw-away question that doesn't tell you much about the candidate, because in the end, the Trustees went around the table, answering that question. Honestly, Question 4 told me more about the Trustees, than it did the candidates.
I would have loved to have heard more about how each candidate values, for example, homeowner rights. Or what specific ideas they could bring to the table concerning their "biggest challenge." -- That being said, I think the process allowed the cream to float to the top, so to speak. It "worked." -- And I suppose my perspective, as a villager who has interests, versus the perspective of a Trustee, is vastly different. I want to elect someone who shares my values. Their criteria for appointment should reflect the whole village. I get that.
These 4 questions were designed to figure out "what kind of guy/gal" the person was, were they thoughtful and articulate, could they talk the talk. It was very different from how someone would run an election, which should be based on issues, and answers to challenges .. i.e. a "platform."
After all 6 were interviewed, the Trustees each voted for their top 3 candidates. The top two were Richard Foster, a 40 year journalist veteran, and Shawn Finnigan, a very bright young attorney.
As an aside, I penciled in my votes, and Foster and Finnigan were my 1 and 2 as well.
The Trustees then voted on Foster and Finnigan, but couldn't reach the required 4 votes to declare a winner. (Trustee Cheng was not in attendance. So the winner needed at least 4 of 5 votes.) Originally, it was 3-2 for Finnigan, but after two rounds, it flipped to 3-2 Foster. No discussion was heard between votes, which I thought was a bit odd, since it left the Trustees up to blindly changing their votes back and forth, hoping to hit 4 votes eventually.
Surprisingly on the 5th ballot, Richard Foster won, and will be sworn in next week as our newest Village Trustee. If he wishes to retain his seat, he will need to run again next April (2009).
I had Foster as my #1 choice after listening to all six. He was well spoken, had solid answers to all the questions, and knew the issues surrounding Whitefish Bay, which should come as no surprise, as he'd run for Brennan's seat in April 2006. Welcome, Trustee-elect Foster.
One other note .. I was very irritated that no one from the "real" media came out to observe these official proceedings. This is an important deal here, people. -- It was also sad that no other members of the public showed up to hear, what really amounts to, a "mini-campaign" for an elected office.
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