IN THE NEWS
Beginning in August of 2014, the Lake Geneva City Council set out on a quest to find the very best city administrator that could be found anywhere in the country. To make sure no mistakes would be made, like the last time, no stone was to be left unturned, even if that meant going outside the city for professional help. The city council knew they couldn’t do it themselves and didn’t want the current administrator to screw the pooch, so they decided to seek the best executive search firm they could find, i.e. a highly professional organization that would have the right contacts and special expertise to find just the perfect city administrator for Lake Geneva.
A Northbrook based executive search firm, GovHR USA, was selected and one of their top Vice Presidents, Lee Szymborski, was chosen for this all-important task. No one in Lake Geneva had ever seen a hard- working, effective city administrator, so it was critical to have Mr. Szymborski on board to be the one making that essential choice. A fee of around $20,000, plus expenses, was a paltry sum to pay, knowing that the city would likely be getting the ‘best of the best’ administrator to turn Lake Geneva’s City Hall into a smooth running machine.
By the end of February of 2015, 50 resumes had been collected, so Szymborski was able to launch into the all-important and tedious screening process where the wheat would get separated from the chaff. Finally, on April 10th the interview process began putting Szymborski’s top prospects thru the proverbial wringer and two weeks later the number was cut down to just two potential candidates. Wow! The crème de la crème survived the gauntlet of scrutiny and investigation and Szymborski had the best and the brightest ready to be evaluated by Lake Geneva. When the two anointed finalists were brought in for the final interviews with the Lake Geneva Personnel Committee, expectations after 8 months of preparation ran high. Some were expecting Steve Jobs while Alderman Kupsic was expecting Jesus Christ to walk in, followed by a demonstration of his walking on water down at the Lake Geneva beach area.
On Saturday, May 9th the public finally got to see the name of the Grand Prize Winner of the contest for World’s Best Administrator. There it was on the May 11th city council agenda: Blaine Oborn. He was termed to be the “perfect candidate” and he had a perfect name, Blaine. A closed session was scheduled on the May 11th city council agenda to make the hiring official. Now the Geneva Shore Report had a confirmed name to go on so Google was chosen by the GSR X-Files investigators. Voila! There he was Blaine, right there on Google Search with pages of links to articles about him. Surprisingly, the first article was confounding. It reported that this ‘perfect candidate’ was being “chastised” and “reprimanded” by an angry Rhinelander city council for conspiring with that city’s mayor to withhold key information that impacted the council budget process. Just great.
In the next article a Rhinelander Councilman, Alex Young, accused Mr. Blaine Oborn of poor judgment. It also ran on about how he abused closed sessions and open records request denials, and said his actions would no longer be tolerated. “Utah” Blaine is reported to have apologized to the Rhinelander City Council, but apparently had to hire a lawyer to represent him in a closed session hearing to evaluate his job performance and employment agreement. How was it possible for Blaine to be Lake Geneva’s top choice given what has been seen as similar negative behavior on the part of Mr. Jordon, Lake Geneva’s current administrator? But there was more. Another article read, “Rhinelander City Administrator Blaine Oborn was involved in an accident on Feb 10th while driving a city vehicle and he failed to report it to law enforcement and city council.” He was accused of being irresponsible and setting a terrible example for other city employees and tax payers by the Rhinelander city council. The Lake Geneva city council was planning to hire Oborn because he was touted by Mr. Szymborski to be the best candidate possible to be the new Lake Geneva city administrator. The Lake Geneva city council couldn’t possibly have known about all his questionable and unprofessional behavior; therefore, they needed to be notified immediately so they could hold off making the hiring decision on Monday. Warning E-mails were rushed out early Sunday by the staff of the Geneva Shore Report to the whole city council and city staff, complete with links to the Internet published stories.
More Google research on Sunday produced another batch of newspaper articles mostly critical of Mr. Oborn’s behavior and judgment. One went all the way back to October of 2003 that read: “Angels Camp Finance Director Blaine Oborn was relieved of his duties Tuesday night by the city council.” So another warning email was sent out with this new public data Monday morning. Come Monday night’s Lake Geneva city council Meeting none of that investigated and uncovered data was observed to have effected any decision at all. It now appears obvious, with the unanimous approval in the hiring of Utah Blaine: Lake Geneva didn’t spend eight months and over $20,000 in fees to find the best city administrator, it spent eight months and over $20,000 to find a younger clone of Dennis Jordan.