Public meets city manager finalists

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The public had a chance to meet the two city manager finalists Wednesday night. 

The city held a public forum for finalists John Glascock and James “Jim” Palenick. The two were asked questions by the hired search firm, CPS HR Consulting. Questions ranged from their definition of community policing to their thoughts on transparency in government.

Palenick addressed his multiple jobs on his resume. He has been fired from three different city management jobs since 2002.

“In order to move up you have to move out," Palenick said. "That’s why in many cases I moved on for a while because in order to further my career it had to be a larger community there was no other place to go to be city manager.”

Glascock said he values relationships the most. He said the improvement of the airport is his greatest accomplishment and wants to add more value to the city.

"That’s the most important thing I can bring to the table is relationships. That’s what I’ve done my whole life," Glascock said.

After the questions from the search firm, the candidates were able to talk with community members.

Boone County resident Rebecca Davis said she came to the meeting because this decision affects her.

“What happens in the city affects me in the county,” Davis said. “I’m thinking it needs to be more of a home grown person that has been here all their lives.”

Like Davis, Rita Fleischmann said she is concerned about her neighborhood and wanted to be in the know.

“We wanted to be on the ground level to understand what is happening now,” Fleischmann said.

Fleischmann said she would like to see more options for city manager.

“I’m not saying Glascock is not a wonderful person, I’m not saying this person isn’t a wonderful. I question if there is more out there,” Fleischmann said.

Before the public forum, candidates went on a tour of the city and had individual interviews with each council member and the mayor.

Glascock is currently Interim City Manager. According to a press release by the city, he has served Columbia for over 16 years in multiple departments. He became the interim city manager after Mike Matthes resigned in November of last year. Glascock appointed Interim Police Chief Geoff Jones.

Palenick is currently the city administrator of Racine, Wisconsin. Palenick said in his application that in his almost 30-year city management career he has introduced body cameras to Racine police and “delivered 29 balanced budgets even in trying economic circumstances.” 

City council will make the final decision on who gets the job. Last week, Mayor Brian Treece said there is no deadline.