All 27 applicants for the vacant seat on the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors will get the chance to interview this week.

"It's hard to eliminate anyone in a situation like this," County Treasurer Eric Stierman said of the applicants.

Stierman, County Auditor Denise Dolan and County Recorder John Murphy make up the committee to fill the position after Tom Hancock died in January. They met Monday to discuss how to proceed after 27 people filed applications by Friday's deadline.

All three committee members agreed that interviewing all of the applicants would be a fair approach to the process.

But in order to appoint someone during a meeting Monday, March 7, the members said, they will have to conduct all the interviews by the end of the day Friday.

Dolan said she thought 30 minutes per interview was not enough, but one hour each for so many people would be difficult.

"To spend 27 hours in interviews, I'm not sure we'd be sane to be able to make a decision afterwards," Dolan said.

She suggested 45 minutes as a compromise, which Murphy and Stierman backed.

Still, 45 minutes each for 27 candidates equates to more than 20 hours of interviews in four days.

Interviews will begin at 1:30 p.m. today and at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Dolan asked how the committee should handle the three people who requested their names not be included on an applicant list released Friday. County officials last week agreed to withhold those names based on a legal opinion from County Attorney Ralph Potter.

Potter said Monday that, while the applicants could confidentially submit their application, the committee can require that those people's interviews be done publicly.

"If you don't feel it's in the public interest to proceed without having an open meeting, I think you have every right to inform them, without releasing their names, that you're not going to interview them if they don't go public," Potter said.

The committee decided that those applicants can either agree to a public interview or be dropped from consideration. They also agreed to use a list of the same six interview questions with each applicant. Murphy said that, along with those questions, they could each come up with two additional questions to ask.

The person selected to fill the seat would hold it until the November election, when the seat will be on the ballot. The winner of that seat in the election would take office as soon as the votes are canvassed.

The current salary for a county supervisor is just more than $48,600. If a person is appointed March 7, he or she would earn nearly $32,500 for holding the seat through the November election. In addition, the person would be eligible for fully paid health insurance.

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