The search for Bethel’s new city manager has taken a step backwards. Last night, the city council rejected both finalists for the position, Aaron Easton and Michael Patterson, due to concerns over their backgrounds. The council then voted to re-open the application period for the city manager job.
“They both freely disclosed to us incidents that may or may not have happened in their past,” said council member Mark Springer.
Springer said that one of the candidates had been accused of sexual assault with no resulting charges. The other had been charged with domestic violence, which was later expunged.
“As things happened, it appeared in the local press in both of their communities,” Springer continued.
Bethel residents found these news media accounts, and relayed their concerns to council members like Springer.
“There was some significant response here in Bethel to those revelations,” Springer said. “And out of respect for that, I made the motion that neither one of them was suitable candidates for Bethel City Manager.”
Mayor Perry Barr said that the city’s executive search firm, GovHR, had recommended the two final candidates. The search firm was aware of the candidates’ histories and had informed the city.