HOFFMAN: PUBLIC INTERVIEWS MAY NARROW FIELD FOR STATE CANNABIS DIRECTOR
By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, SEPT. 26, 2017.....At least six people have already submitted a resume and expressed interest in being the first executive director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, and the commission plans to hire someone for that role in about three weeks.
The commission is looking for someone who has experience working in regulated industries and a strong knowledge of Massachusetts' legal marijuana law, and someone who is willing to seek the job in public.
The CCC met Tuesday to craft a job description for the executive director and lay out its hiring process. Resumes are due by Oct. 3 and the commission plans to conduct public interviews with between two and four finalists on Oct. 17. The CCC plans to vote on Oct. 19 to hire its preferred candidate.
"This is an incredibly important job," CCC Chair Steven Hoffman, who is currently serving as acting/interim executive director, said. "We're going to run an expeditious process to hire a full-time executive director but we're going to do it the right way. It's going to be public, we're going to allow applications from whoever might be interested and we will do what we can in open commission meetings."
The executive director job was not officially posted as of Tuesday morning, but Hoffman said he has already received at least a half-dozen resumes from people who want to be considered for the position.
Despite the early interest and the crush of resumes Hoffman said he expects to receive once the job is formally posted, he said he is worried that some high-quality candidates may decide not to apply because the commission's interview process would make their candidacy publicly known.
"I am concerned. Anybody that has a good job right now has to think very seriously, with no guarantees that they're going to get this job, about going public with this," he said. "I don't know how to estimate it, but I do suspect it's going to have an impact on some people that won't participate in the process."
The decision to hold public interviews, Hoffman said, was made in order to comply with open meeting requirements and to fulfill the CCC's mission of operating openly and transparently.
"Given the importance of this decision, it's just the right way to do it in my opinion and in the commission's opinion," he said.
Once the CCC has applications in hand, Hoffman and Commissioner Britte McBride -- together acting as the CCC's screening subcommittee -- will meet Oct. 6 to select applicants for initial interviews. On Oct. 11 and 12, the subcommittee will meet to conduct first round interviews and pick finalists to be interviewed in public by the full CCC.
The executive director chosen on Oct. 19 is expected to start working for the CCC by mid-November, Hoffman said.
Since they were sworn in at the beginning of the month, the five CCC members have been acting as commissioners and the commission's staff. As acting/interim executive director, Hoffman has the authority to make what he deems "short-term business urgent hires" without going through the state hiring process.
Hoffman said he is close to hiring an executive assistant to the commission and will soon execute a short-term contract with a contractor to provide technology program management services for the commission.
He will also mull proposals from six public relations firms this week as he looks to hire a person or firm to act as the CCC's temporary director of communications. Chandra Allard, communications director for Treasurer Deb Goldberg, has been coordinating press inquiries for the CCC.
The CCC on Tuesday also took a first pass at crafting its mission statement. Hoffman had written a draft mission statement -- "I wrote it in the shower like I write most of my things," he said -- and commissioners made edits and additions to it. Hoffman said he plans for the CCC to continue to perfect the mission statement over the course of a two or three more meetings.
"I will go back into my shower and keep working on this tonight," the chairman said.