City councilmen want to move city forward after OTA decision

A day after the Ottumwa City Council voted 3-2 to appoint Dave Silverio as the new director of Ottumwa Transit; some councilmembers are speaking out about the process, and about moving forward.

There was much controversy among certain councilmembers after Councilman Jeremy Weller applied for the open position, and was then named one of the four finalists for the position.

In the end, Weller was not offered the job, instead it was offered to Silverio.

Several councilmembers were not pleased with the way the interview process was conducted, and want a review of the policy and procedures.

Councilman John â??J.R.â?? Richards told KTVO Wednesday afternoon that the entire process is being evaluated.

â??I think that we have kind of been hit with something that has not happened before. I do not remember a council person applying for a job with the city; and because of that, things have come up where we need to look at the rules we have that councilmembers can follow in certain situations,â?? said Richards. â??I believe right now we are formalizing the rules, we are researching what other communities do, and in the very near future we will have a set of rules that can guide, and help guide our behavior and how we treat each other.â??

Councilmember Brian Morgan told KTVO that members of the council should have not been involved in the interview(s) whatsoever.

â??As far as a council person applying for the job (Jeremy Weller) and having us sit on it, no. I was one to say that we do not need anything to do with this. It just created such conflict with it that if Jeremy did get the job, it would look really bad. If Jeremy did not get the job, then it could be and possibly was strewed the way that â?? that councilmember did not like him and was not going to hire him because he did not have the experience. Either way, I thought it was in the best interest in the council and the city for everyone involved to stay out of it,â?? said Morgan.

Richards told KTVO that he wants to put this entire situation in the past and move forward.

â??I think that it is very important that this council pull together and show a cohesive face. We work so hard to have business and people locate here, but one of the first things they look at in the political spectrum is how well do these people function together. I think that is why this is so important and I am anxious to get started with it,â?? Richards said.

Councilman Brian Morgan along with Bob Meyers voted no on the appointment of Silverio.

â??Well, for the most part, the reason I voted no on it; when we first came about hiring a new director, the key we were told was going to be that we needed someone with experience, someone who could take the transit department in the direction it needed to go,â?? Morgan said.

Morgan added that because of all of the turmoil going on within the transit department he would have liked to see someone with more than a year on the job.

â??We were really getting down to the nuts and bolts of it with everything that has gone on over the last four years, the survival of the transit department is truly key in the aspect it is ran right now,â?? Morgan said. â??So, by that face of wanting someone with experience and needing someone with experience, I just didnâ??t feel that hiring someone with a year of experience that was underneath someone also who didnâ??t have experience, was necessarily the right direction to go for this hire.â??

Although Morgan voted against giving Silverio the position, he is willing and ready to work with him to move the transit department in the right direction.

â??As a council, I think we are actually united behind Dave. Personally, I do not have anything against Dave. He passed, we will work with him. We are going to do our best to save transit the way it is ran right now, but I think we are all open to the fact that it may not be the transit that we know of in a year or two years,â?? Morgan said.

Morgan told KTVO that his relationship with the other councilmembers is good and that they are willing to work together.

â??I think as a council, as far as the relationships between us, I think I have talked to Mitch (Niner) quite often in the last couple weeks. Mitch called me this morning and we are ok with things. He understands where I was coming from with the votes last night and where he was,â?? Morgan said.

There are still many questions that remain and will be answered in the coming months about Ottumwa Transit.

Several members of the community, as well as councilmembers, believe that the Ottumwa Transit Advisory Board needs to be abolished, being that the director has to answer to the Ottumwa City Council and the 10-15 Transit Board, which is made up of county supervisors.