Council says no to mayor's new hires
Boutwell’s recommendation fails to get vote
May 6, 2021
The Century Town Council did not approve Mayor Benjamin Boutwell's recommendation of two hires for the town Monday night following discussion that the process was not carried out correctly.
Mayor Boutwell recommended hiring Cynthia Daniels as citizens services clerk and Dennis Mathis for street department maintenance, the two he thought were the most qualified.
When council members began questioning how these two applicants came to be recommended, Town Clerk Kim Godwin said five applicants who were deemed most qualified to fill the positions were chosen and interviewed.
“We picked the top five and interviewed those people,” said Godwin.
Council woman Dynette Lewis expressed concern that a former Century town clerk applied for the citizens services clerk position, but did not get hired, but had experience working for the town, and asked Mayor Boutwell why. Boutwell said the applicant was asking for a higher wage than stated for that position and that he thought what she was asking too much for that position.
Lewis asked if Boutwell had asked that former employee if she would be interested in the job for a lower wage and Boutwell said he did not.
Councilwoman Sandra McMurray Jackson said she was not able to see the applications other than the two recommended by the mayor because her computer system was down.
Councilman Luis Gomez expressed concern about the timeline of advertising for the position and the change of administration, noting he thought the application process was a 'dog and pony show'.
Gomez said he looked at one of the applications and further called the references listed there.
“One reference said he was released or terminated for just cause,” said Gomez. “The job of this council is to pick the best team for the town of Century, not a friend, not a relative, not a neighbor. I think this town has had too much of that over the past decades.”
Gomez said favoritism can impact decisions about job performance and continued employment. He reminded council members there were other applicants for both positions and that the council could actually ask for an interview. He said he didn't think the process to hire new employees was carried out properly, citing that he encountered perceived hostility from town employees who thought Gomez was getting involved where they thought he should not.
Councilman Gomez reminded Mayor Boutwell that he sat on the council before he became mayor and should follow protocol.
“My loyalty is not to anyone over at that table, or anyone at this table,” said Gomez. “My job is to get the best team to do the best job possible.”
Councilman James Smith tried to clarify if Gomez was upset over the two applicants being recommended or the process itself. Gomez stated he sees red flags with both recommended applicants and called for a motion to vote yes or no.
Councilman James Smith made a motion to approve Boutwell's recommendation to hire both applicants. There was no second motion. The motion died on the floor.
The next meeting will be at 7 p.m., Monday, May 17, at the Century Community Center.