Stories indexed with the term ‘interview questions’

City Admin Finalist: Steve Powers

On Tuesday morning, Ann Arbor chief of police Barnett Jones received an update suggesting that his patrol officers are enforcing the law uniformly across all vehicles. A taxicab carrying the two finalists for the Ann Arbor city administrator’s position – Ellie Oppenheim and Steve Powers – had executed a rolling stop, and was pulled over. Powers reported that the officer was professional and matter-of-fact.

The cab was driving the two finalists to city hall, where they were interviewed by city councilmembers and senior staff – including Jones – in a round-robin format, cycling through three small groups to answer questions about their experience, abilities and approach to the job. A third finalist, Harry Black, had withdrawn his name from consideration last weekend.

Steve Powers Ann Arbor city administrator finalist

Steve Powers, one of two finalists for the Ann Arbor city administrator job, during an interview with city councilmembers on July 12.

In addition to Jones, conducting the interviews were councilmembers Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), Mike Anglin (Ward 5), mayor John Hieftje, and city attorney Stephen Postema.

Each had been given briefing books prepared by the city’s human resources staff and consultants with Affion Public, a search firm hired by the city. The three panels consisted of (1) Briere, Rapundalo and Postema; (2) Hieftje, Higgins and Kunselman; and (3) Anglin, Derezinski and Jones.

Questions were essentially read aloud as scripts from these prepared materials to ensure uniformity of the interviewing experience. One or two questions were fairly general, for example: What do you think makes a good leader? But the majority were behavioral: Tell us about a time when your leadership skills were put to the test and what the outcome was.

The interviews were part of a two-day process, and included a lunch on Tuesday with staff and a public reception on Tuesday evening at the new municipal center, which featured five-minute presentations from each candidate, as well as time for informal conversations. On Wednesday, the finalists will be interviewed in city council chambers from 8 a.m. to noon. That session, which is open to the public, will also be videotaped and broadcast live on Channel 16 to allow viewing of the interviews by councilmembers and the public who are not able to attend.

It’s possible that a resolution making the appointment could be on the council’s July 18 agenda.

The Chronicle sat in on all interviews held Tuesday morning. This article reports on the responses by Powers. A separate article describes how Oppenheim responded to the interview questions. Because candidates often offered similar examples as answers to different sets of questions, their responses are summarized thematically. [Full Story]

Five Questions for Jason Segel

Actor Jason Segel is in Ann Arbor this summer for the shoot of a movie called “Five Year Engagement.” With our focus on civics and government affairs, interviews with celebrities are not exactly in The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s wheelhouse. But we wanted to be prepared to interview Mr. Segel, in case we stumble across him.

So we developed five can’t-fail interview questions that respect both Mr. Segel’s vocation as well as our commitment to The Chronicle’s editorial mission. [Full Story]

Art Commission Drafts Artist Selection Form

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (March 1, 2011): Marsha Chamberlin chaired AAPAC’s March meeting, and began by welcoming guests: Six students from Skyline High School, who were there for a class assignment, and Susan Froelich, the new president of the Arts Alliance.

Susan Froelich

Susan Froelich, the new president of the Ann Arbor-based Arts Alliance, at the March 1, 2011 meeting of the Ann Arbor public art commission. She was appointed in late February and replaces former president Tamara Real, who resigned last year. (Photo by the writer.)

Froelich – who was a member and former chair of AAPAC’s predecessor group, the commission for art in public places – told commissioners she was just there to say hello, and that the alliance looked forward to working with AAPAC. She passed out bookmarks promoting the A3Arts web portal, which launched last year and features profiles of artists and institutions in the area, along with an events calendar and other information. Finally, Froelich thanked commissioners for their work.

During the meeting, commissioners approved spending up to $2,000 to get an evaluation of the damaged Sun Dragon at Fuller Pool, and to secure a cost estimate for repair or replacement. Margaret Parker, an AAPAC member and the artist who originally designed the colored-plexiglas sculpture, recused herself from that discussion.

Commissioners also discussed a draft of an artist evaluation rubric and interview protocol, and debated whether local artists should be given extra points in the process. Also debated was the definition of local – they plan to continue the discussion at their next meeting.

Nomination forms for the annual Golden Paintbrush awards are now available from AAPAC’s website, with a May 2 deadline for submission. The awards are given to individuals and institutions for their contributions to public art in Ann Arbor.

Scheduling came up in several different ways. A special meeting has been called to vote on site recommendations from AAPAC’s mural task force. That meeting is set for Friday, March 11 at 11 a.m. on the seventh floor of the City Center building at Fifth and Huron. Commissioners also discussed possibly changing their monthly meeting day. It’s now set for the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m., but two commissioners have scheduling conflicts at that time. AAPAC’s newest member, Malverne Winborne, reported that he’d told mayor John Hieftje prior to his nomination that the meeting day would be difficult for him, but that had not been communicated to the rest of the commission. [Full Story]

AAPS: Final Phase of Superintendent Search

By week’s end, the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of trustees will choose from among three finalists to fill its open superintendent position. Finalists include: Patricia Green (North Allegheny School District, Pennsylvania); Michael Muñoz (Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa); and Shelley Redinger (Oregon Trail School District, Oregon).

The public is invited to interview the three finalists at community forums to be held on Friday, March 4 from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Pioneer High School cafeteria annex, 601 W. Stadium Blvd. Also open to the public are the candidates’ second interviews with the board, which begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5 in the main conference room of the AAPS Balas Administration Building, 2555 S. State St. The board’s final deliberations on their preferred candidate will immediately follow the final interviews. Those deliberations are expected to start around noon.

The narrowing of the field of six candidates took place during the week of Feb. 14, when the board interviewed all the candidates. The board made their selection of the finalists at the end of the week on Friday, following the last two interviews. Visits to the home districts by three board members had originally been planned to take place the week of Feb. 21, but inclement weather led to a decision to cancel those visits.

Candidate-submitted profiles and resumes are also available on the AAPS website. Based on candidate responses in the first round of interviews, which included 24 questions, for this report The Chronicle has compiled profiles of the three final candidates. [.pdf of AAPS first-interview questions[Full Story]

AAPS Set for Six Superintendent Interviews

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (Feb. 9, 2011): At its Wednesday meeting, the AAPS board announced six semi-finalists for the district’s open superintendent position. In alphabetical order, the candidates and the school districts in which they are currently working are: William DeFrance (Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Michigan); Patricia Green (North Allegheny School District, Pennsylvania.); Paul Long (Pennsbury School District, Pennsylvania); Michael Muñoz (Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa); Shelley Redinger (Oregon Trail School District, Oregon); and Manuel Rodriguez (Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland).

Christine Stead, Andy Thomas, Ann Arbor Public Schools

Trustee Andy Thomas, makes a point during the AAPS board discussion on interview questions for superintendent candidates. Seated to his right at the board table is trustee Christine Stead. (Photo by the writer.)

Candidate bios and photos, along with detailed information about when and where candidate interviews will be held next week, are available on the AAPS website. The public is invited to attend, but not participate in, this first round of interviews. The board decided on more than 20 questions to be asked during a two-hour interview of each candidate, and plans to select two or three finalists for the position immediate following the last interview on Friday, Feb. 18.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Stone High School successfully won board approval to change its name to Ann Arbor Technological High School, and Skyline High School principal Sulura Jackson was honored for being named principal of the year by the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. Jackson will now move on to compete nationally. [Full Story]

AAPS Trustee Selection Set for May 12

Ann Arbor Board of Education study session (May 6, 2010): The six trustees of the Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) board of education met briefly Thursday evening to interview Noah Hurwitz, the final candidate vying for the board seat vacated by Randy Friedman in April.


Noah Hurwitz, one of five candidates for the open spot on the AAPS board. He is the only one of the five who did not also apply for the seat vacated by Adam Hollier in February. (Photo by the writer.)

Five people have applied for the position: Victoria Haviland, James Corey, Andy Thomas, Jack Panitch, and Noah Hurwitz. The four candidates other than Hurwitz were interviewed by the board in March when they were filling the position ultimately won by Christine Stead. [Chronicle coverage: "AAPS Board Interviews Go Back and Forth"]

Of those four, Panitch and Thomas had also interviewed for an open board position last December. Given that the previous two selection processes occurred recently, the board decided not to require the first four candidates to interview again. However, all five candidates have been asked to make presentations at the regular board meeting on May 12 before the new trustee is selected.

On Thursday, board president Deb Mexicotte asked the board members to introduce themselves to Hurwitz. During those introductions, vice president Irene Patalan pointed out the half a dozen high school students who were in attendance as a requirement of their government class. Two members of the AAPS Parent-Teacher-Organization Council, Martine Perreault and Amy Pachera, also attended. No members of the AAPS administration were present.

This article is organized around the eight interview questions asked of each candidate by the board. The Chronicle has compiled candidates’ answers from each of the previous two interview dates, to facilitate evaluation of the candidates. For each question, we first provide a summary of answers to that question given by the candidates interviewed in March, followed by a summary of the responses given by Hurwitz on Thursday. [Full Story]

Library Lot Math: 6 – 2 + 2 = 6

At its Friday morning meeting, the committee responsible for evaluating development proposals for the Library Lot agreed to reconsider two of the proposals previously rejected.

Samm Offen Jayne Miller

Sam Offen reads a section of the Library Lot RFP that he interpreted to mean that financial considerations should come later in the process. At right is Jayne Miller, community services area administrator. (Photos by the writer.)

The suggestion for reconsideration had been brought to the committee by two of its members, Margie Teall and Stephen Rapundalo, who also serve on the city council.  Monday’s city council meeting had included conversation about the issue.

The committee will now re-include in the interview process the two proposals it had eliminated at its December meeting. Representatives for all six proposals to develop the top of the Fifth Avenue underground parking structure will be interviewed in a little less than two weeks. On Jan. 19, the two that had been dropped previously – proposals that call for predominantly open space in that area – will be interviewed, followed on Jan. 20 by interviews of the other four proposers.

Related to this process, at its Wednesday meeting the Downtown Development Authority had approved up to $50,000 for a consultant to assist with the review of proposals. So on Friday, the committee was also briefed on the request for qualifications (RFQ) for the consultant, which has now been released – and no candidates with operations in Washtenaw County will be considered. [Full Story]

AATA, CEO Candidate Start Talks

AATA Board meeting (April 22, 2009): In their deliberations Wednesday evening, the AATA board assessed CEO candidate Michael Ford’s interview responses as “mushy” and not as “crisp” as they’d ideally prefer, with board chair David Nacht describing Ford’s communicative style as “modern management parlance.”

word cloud of Michael Ford's interview

Word cloud based on interview questions and answers from Michael Ford’s third interview. The cloud was generated by (Image links to higher resolution file.)

So often was the word “crisp” invoked that Thomas Partridge, who spoke at the conclusion of the meeting during public commentary, gave one of his standard talking points a little extra flourish: He asked the board to articulate a vision for expanded countywide service “in the same crisp language” that they expected from their next CEO.

In fact, it appears that the next CEO of the AATA will be Michael Ford. The board looked past a lack of crispness in his interview answers and voted unanimously to make him an offer and enter into negotiations. Assuming the two sides can reach an agreement, Ford might be able to take over the reigns of the AATA relatively quickly. Ford operates his own consulting firm, MG Ford Consulting, and there would be no coordination with a current employer to consider.

In other business, the board (i) heard a report from their auditor (who was roundly lambasted by board chair Nacht), (ii) got an update from their own financial staff (AATA is on course to keep its current year’s budget balanced), (iii) passed a resolution to charge the full cost of service for its purchase-of-service (POS) contracts, thus increasing the cost to municipalities like Ypsilanti by roughly 30% by 2012, and (iv) gave support only in concept for Ann Arbor’s Transportation Plan Update. [Full Story]

AATA Interviews Two; Re-Interview to Follow

Michael Ford AATA Ann Arbor interview

Michael Ford's interview by the full AATA board. From left to right: Ted Annis, Charles Griffith, Jesse Bernstein, Michael Ford, David Nacht, Paul Ajegba, Sue McCormick, Rich Robben.

The board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority met at AATA headquarters on South Industrial Wednesday morning to conduct public interviews of the two finalists for the executive directorship of the organization. The field had been narrowed down to two candidates after interviews of five finalists two weeks ago: Carl Jackson, currently general manager and CEO of the Macon Transit Authority in Macon, Georgia; and Michael Ford, currently with MG Ford Consulting in Camas, Washington, and formerly assistant general manager and COO of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District.

No decision has been made to make an offer based on the interviews. Ford is to be re-interviewed either in Ann Arbor,  by video conference, or some other means with a timetable as yet undetermined.

The Chronicle was able to observe the hour-long session with Ford, which started around 8 a.m., but due to other commitments could not stay for Jackson’s interview. Touching base with board member Jesse Bernstein later in the day, he said the questions put to both candidates were the same. Various follow-up questions asked of Ford may not necessarily have been asked of Jackson. In all cases, the phrasing of the questions reflects a paraphrase by The Chronicle, not necessarily an exact quote. The questioning proceeded from right-to-left (audience perspective) around the board table: [Full Story]