One of the major criticisms of the Gillette City Council in recent years has been a lack of transparency surrounding the council, particularly in choosing replacements and disseminating potential negative information about sitting council members. What level of transparency should residents expect from their elected officials?
Transparency is of the utmost importance in government.
Personally, I think the replacement for an open seat should take place in an open meeting. From the interview to the final decision to pick the best candidate, the entire process should be done in an open meeting.
Personally, I have been involved in filling three open council seats. Two times after the candidate interviews the selection discussion has taken place in executive session and one time the candidate was selected by ballot without any discussion in an open or executive session. Three times we have made excellent choices using two different methods.
When a candidate runs for office he or she is subject to the scrutiny of the voters and speaking as a candidate, sometimes it can be uncomfortable. Serving the public can be uncomfortable at times. Evaluating and discussing the merits of candidates for open seats can be uncomfortable.
I think it is important to hold the candidate evaluation discussion in an open meeting so everyone can see how and why the decision was made to select the candidate and to avoid having people think something funny went on during the selection process.
No one ever said serving in public office would provide a comfortable experience.