Most of the people in attendance were employees of the city or candidates for public office (Nancy Jackson, Rhonda Fields), or local community leaders (Citizens Budget Advisory Commission, Havana Business Improvement District).
Although no one would comment on which candidate they preferred, three people I talked to said Freed was well-liked and well-known in the community, and they didn't know much about Noe. Freed certainly knows more about the city, since she has been working for Aurora as the deputy city manager since 2003. Her knowledge of the city was evident in the responses to the 5 questions she was asked in a video presentation at the reception. It's also evident that Noe has a lengthy resume and extensive experience in the public service sector, but does he know enough about Aurora to make city employees and residents confident that he would make a good city leader?
If Freed did get the city manager post, some people might question why the city spent $23,000 on a hiring firm to recruit 45 qualified candidates just to end up hiring from within. That discussion was brought up by a member of CABC. A few city employees suggested that if Freed did end up getting hired, it was important for the city to carry out their due diligence in seeking out other qualified candidates. City officials want to select the best of the best, even if it takes a nationwide search to find that a qualified city manager is actually in-house, suggested city employees.
What does the city manager do, anyway? According to Aurora's website, the city manager is responsible for:
- Ensuring that policy direction set by council is carried out
- Ensuring that the city's public services are of high quality and provided in an efficient and cost-effective way
- Preparing a recommended budget for council
- Recruiting, hiring and supervising Aurora employees
- Providing the city council objective information and recommendations regarding the issues and decisions
Read profiles of the two candidates here, and don't forget to read Thursday and Friday's paper to see what Freed and Noe said about the city's budget, public safety, and home foreclosures.