The Most Qualified Candidate Is . . .. The Sequel

eliot_isaacI have thought long and hard as to whether I really want to publish this blog article. I know before reading the first paragraph that there will be those who take it the wrong way and those who will accuse me of bias, regardless of what my intent may be. So I will state right from the start that this article is about the promotion of Captain Eliot Isaac to the position of Executive Assistant Police Chief. This article is not about Captain Isaac, nor is it about his qualifications. This article is about the selection process, and whether or not the most qualified candidate was selected and the process used to decide who that candidate should be. On June 11th, 2015 I wrote about picking The Most Qualified Candidate. Today’s article is the sequel. Today’s article is seeking the truth, nothing more.

Before beginning this article I did some research by emailing the City Manager Harry Black and Chief Jeffrey Blackwell regarding the selection process. The email I sent to Harry Black was assigned to Georgetta Kelly, Human Resource Director for the City of Cincinnati Government. Below are the questions and answers from Ms. Kelly:

Q: What criteria did you use in making the selection for the Executive Assistant Police Chief position? A: Candidates participated in an oral structured assessment process

Q: How many others were considered for the position?
A: 8

Q: Were college degrees considered in making your selection.
A Per the approved classification specification a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree is required for the position

Q:Was any consideration given to any candidates from without the department?
A: No, Internal Posting only

I was pleased with the quick response to my questions and felt that the process would be transparent as I researched. I then sent several follow-up questions to Ms. Kelly as listed below:

Q: Of the eight candidates, were all from the Captains rank and can the names of the eight be provided to me
Q: Was Mr. Black the only assessor. If not, who else participated in the interview process?

The email with the follow-up questions was ignored and I have received no further correspondence from either Mr. Harry Black or Ms. Georgetta Kelly. Suddenly the process was no longer transparent.

As indicated I also emailed Chief Blackwell with one question, as follows:

Q: Please advise if you had any part in the selection process for the recently filled Executive Assistant Police Chief position, and if so, what part did you have?

This question was ignored by Blackwell. This did not surprise me, and to be honest I did not expect a response. This lack of expectation for a response is because Blackwell has never responded to any email I have sent to him before. Blackwell is very fond of using the word transparency, but it seems that in my case, not so much.

Based on all of this, it is impossible to find out what process was used, who the candidates were, and if Eliot Isaac was, in fact, the most qualified candidate. Also based on this lack of transparency coupled with statements made by Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley, one can only surmised that the appointment to this position was based on one criteria, the race of the candidate. This is not to say that Eliot Isaac was or was not the best choice. This is to say that there is no way to know who is best qualified if the candidate pool is not known. Maybe this is what the Sentinels had in mind when asking for a “double blind” selection process. The public has been blinded to who all the candidates were, and the public is blinded as to who the assessors were and why Eliot Isaac was the final selection.

In closing I can only say that I wish Eliot Isaac well. I hope he enjoys much success in this phase of his career. I truly hope he is the best choice for the position. Only time will tell, and even if Eliot Isaac turns out to be an excellent choice, we will never know if he was the most qualified.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Tom Lind

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  1. AnonymousJuly 25, 2015

    Subpoena the information on the selection process and all the info that was available for the assessors.

    1. rock0215July 25, 2015

      I think that a subpoena might be beyond the scope of my limited resources. I am considering a public records request to obtain the list of candidates and the list of assessors.


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