Applicant upset by city hiring process

News editor

When EJ Pickett read the job requirements for Marion’s city clerk position, she was delighted to find that they matched her skill set. She hadn’t had much optimism in finding a good match so close to her new home in Marion with new husband, Joe.

“Wow, that’s right up my alley,” she recalled thinking.

Pickett works as a tax specialist in Wichita, but wanted to find a job that wouldn’t require two hours commuting each day. She has years of experience reconciling bank accounts and handling payroll and taxes.

However, she wasn’t one of the finalists invited to an interview for the position, and when she read that two of the three finalists withdrew before interviews and the remaining finalist, certified public accountant Woodrow Crawshaw Jr., was offered the job without further interviews, she was frustrated.

“I’m not angry I didn’t get the job. I never got the chance,” she said. “I know for a fact that I was at least qualified for an interview.”

She questioned why the other two finalists canceled interviews.

“It feels to me like someone had already been hand chosen,” Pickett said.

Mayor-elect Todd Heitschmidt, who was on the interview panel, said the panel discussed whether to start all over or interview additional applicants after the two withdrew, but decided against it because they thought there was a significant difference in qualifications between the finalists — who had business degrees — and other applicants. They also were comfortable with Crawshaw’s qualifications.

In addition to being a certified public accountant, Crawshaw has two years of audit experience, 18 years experience overseeing accounting, credit, and offices at Excel Industries in Hesston, and 45 years operating a tax preparation service from home. He also was a billing clerk and office manager for the county ambulance department from 2004 to 2008, and he drove a school bus for USD 408 for the past 10 years.

“We didn’t feel the need to go back and interview additional candidates,” Heitschmidt said.

He said that if they thought the top six candidates were all close, the panel would have interviewed all six initially.

One of the finalists who canceled was able to make arrangements to work from home with their current employer, and the other had concerns about the timing of the opening and moving to Marion.

Heitschmidt said Crawshaw was the only CPA among the applicants, while the other finalists had business degrees.

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