WAUKESHA — Common Council members voted unanimously Feb. 18 to confirm Lee Kelley as the new Prairie Home Cemetery director, but that confirmation was given after steps in the hiring process were accidentally skipped, the city administrator said, and Kelley had already begun working in the city.
City Administrator Kevin Lahner told The Freeman he made a mistake when he was going through the hiring process, accidentally skipping a process in the city’s Human Resources Policy B2-15.
“Basically, the policy calls for several department directors to go through an interview process and ultimately be approved by the Common Council,” Lahner said. “After I had announced the hiring, one of the aldermen had asked, ‘Does this need to go to council?’ and I realized that the position actually did.”
Lahner issued a memo to all the members of the Common Council dated Feb. 5, 2021. Kelley’s first day as a city employee was Feb. 1.
“Under this policy, the potential candidate is supposed to be interviewed by a committee of two (aldermen) and the mayor along with me and the human resources director,” Lahner said in the memo.
The final selection for the position is also to be made by Lahner, but subject to the Common Council’s approval, with a recommendation on the compensation package for the finalist. The compensation package was included in the Feb. 18 Common Council confirmation agenda — Kelley was hired with a $106,000 annual salary.
In the memo, Lahner said Kelley had received a thorough vetting and is a highly qualified and capable candidate. Kelley was interviewed by Lahner, Human Resources Director Marquoise Vasquez and Finance Director Bridget Souffrant for the position. Kelley was one of four candidates interviewed.
In the memo, Lahner said Alderman Daniel Manion brought the error to his attention after Lahner had announced Kelley’s appointment.
The policy applies to the positions of finance director; information technology director; human resources director; parks, recreation and forestry director; community development director; director of public works and the cemetery director.
Lahner said he’s not aware of this mistake being made before.
“It’s the policy that we created so we should follow it, that’s what we’ve been doing,” he said.
Lahner has been undergoing a performance review by the Human Resources Committee with another meeting Wednesday. Items related to Lahner’s review will be discussed in a closed session with a possible action on the matter conducted in an open session.
“If you desire to take this into consideration when conducting my performance review, please do so,” Lahner said in the memo. The review form was open for an additional day for possible revisions.