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Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski

February 22, 2021 - 9:04pm

Batavia City Council members say they will report the amount they have spent in a search for a new city manager as quickly as possible after the process has been completed.

Council is scheduled to interview the final candidates for the permanent position at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in a special executive session (closed to the public) at the City Centre’s Council Board Room.

City resident John Roach, speaking during the public comments segment of tonight’s Conference Meeting, asked – for the second time -- if any money has been spent in the search for a new city manager.

“Will somebody tell me why I have to actually FOIL (file a Freedom of Information Law request) over a simple question of taxpayer money?” he said. “Have you had to spend any money on this search so far?”

Roach mentioned a story on The Batavian that reported Council’s intention to interview two people, with Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski believed to be one of them.

“Is there any cost associated with those interviews? As a taxpayer, I’d like to know. We were told that this was going to be free. I know the Council president did warn that nothing is ever really free. But, yet we were told that this would be free,” he continued.

Council Member John Canale and President Eugene Jankowski Jr. responded, with both assuring Roach that the total cost will be determined and released to the public soon.

“I know we have that exact information,” Canale said. “I do believe that Geno alluded to the fact that there would be a very minimal cost in that the search was being provided as a second search (following the search that resulted in the hiring of Martin Moore) free of charge, but there would be additional, small costs for advertising for the national search.”

Canale said he would make sure the numbers are provided after Thursday, adding that he thinks they will be “very, very minimal.”

Jankowski noted that travel costs were minimized because of COVID-19 and the utilization of Zoom videoconferencing to conduct preliminary interviews.

“We didn’t have to fly people around and put them in hotel rooms,” he said. “That process should be finalized very soon and then we’ll have the actual numbers …”

At that point, Council Member Rose Mary Christian asked how many people were interviewed via Zoom, but was quickly reminded that Council was not at liberty to discuss that in a public setting.

“You will be in that process on Thursday, correct, Ro? You will have all those answers then,” Canale said.

“Absolutely,” she replied.

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