Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 29, 2013

City council decides to move forward to replace city administrator ASAP

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Three of five Centerville City Council members who attended a special meeting Friday at City Hall voted to hire a temporary city administrator as soon as possible.

Present were councilmen Darrin Hamilton, Richard Smith and Edwin Brand. Not present were councilmen Rob Lind and Randy Marcussen.

The consensus was the city needs to find someone to immediately fill the city administrator position, once held by Kim Crego, who has since retired, because the work load was way more than Joyce Davis, acting city clerk, can handle.

The council voted 3-0 to form a committee consisting of Brand, Lind, Davis and two members of the water board, as yet unnamed, to find and hire as soon as possible a temporary city administrator.

The hope is the hire of a temporary city administrator will be an agenda item on the next city council meeting Monday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Craver said the city received three unsolicited resumes for the temporary city administrator position.

The agenda item dealing with finding a permanent replacement for the city administrator drew the most discussion, both from the council and those in the audience. The debate centered around the best way to find a permanent replacement: Hire a professional "head hunter" firm, which could cost by some estimates up to $20,000, or run city-paid advertisements soliciting resumes with a special committee in charge of weeding through and reducing the applications to where the council could start interviews.

Brand and Hamilton endorsed an internal process to hire a permanent city administrator. Centerville Mayor Jim Senior, who cannot vote on the subject, endorsed hiring a professional firm to find Centerville's next city administrator.

Senior called the money spent on a professional hiring firm "an investment" whose expertise would keep the city from continually looking for a suitable person.

One audience member said hiring an outside hiring firm offers accountability, sets a positive tone, shows a seriousness on the part of the city and they would proceed in a non-bias way.

Craver pointed out the search to find a permanent city administrator is going to cost, no matter which way the city proceeds: Hire a search firm and pay a fee or do it internally and the council puts in extra time. Craver said if done internally by the council perhaps it would be cheaper.

It was decided to take it one step at a time and proceed with the temporary hire before acting on which way to find a permanent city administrator.

Other items addressed during the one hour meeting called for by city attorney Mike Craver, were city obligations not met, but since resolved with the state, the future look of government in Centerville and compensation for the mayor and temporary city clerk for the extra work they have done after Crego retired.

Davis talked about the additional work she has done since Crego retired. Last week Davis said she worked more than 63 hours.

Davis said she is paid hourly and earns compensation time up to 80 hours with anything over that paid as time-and-one-half.

Davis said she is paid $16 per hour. She said Crego was paid $25 per hour.

Senior said he would place on the next council agenda compensation for increased workload for Davis and himself.

Craver brought council-approved job descriptions and asked if that's the way they want to proceed.

Brand said the city could have a city clerk and a city administrator at the same time.

The special council meeting lasted one hour.