March 9, 2011

A Process That Binds

Justin Katz

As an applicant for an interim town treasurer job in Tiverton, I found the process to be peculiar:

One can objectively question some of the more peculiar aspects of the process. For instance, in every blind selection process that I've encountered --- whether for employment or, say, for college admissions --- the identities of the candidates are withheld from the people making the decision. In Tiverton's hiring practice, they are the only people permitted to know who the candidates are.

It is certainly reasonable of candidates to expect some level of public privacy. Indeed, Personnel Board Chairman James Camara related an anecdote about a previous applicant who lost his or her current job after being mentioned in the local press. (Of course, this didn't stop the journalist in the room from publishing my name without seeking either permission or statement.) Still, how can the public have confidence that the Personnel Board isn't applying political litmus tests or stacking the pool of interviewees when they alone have access to the identities of applicants?

That problem compounds into others.