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February 13, 2013

Centerville mayor releases open letter concerning temporary city administrator

CENTERVILLE — February 13,2013

OPEN LETTER FROM THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CENTERVILLE:

In December 2012, the City Administrator abruptly retired and left a large void at City Hall. City staff rallied to help, but temporary help was needed to fill the void while a new administrator was hired. In particular, the City needed help in preparing a budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which must be completed by mid March, 2013 pursuant to Iowa law. On January 22, 2013, the City formed a committee to search for assistance. The committee immediately began seeking recommendations from the state and other communities of firms and individuals who were qualified to provide such services for a temporary two- to three-month-period. The committee, City staff and I reviewed the qualifications and resumes received, met with potential candidates and made a recommendation to enter into a short-term consulting agreement with a firm called CAM-PS to provide certain city administration duties.

CAM-PS is a firm run by Kevin. Stocker that provides city administration, management and project management services. Mr. Stocker had a strong resume assisting other communities with various project, budget and administration projects and was currently assisting another community in providing similar services that were needed by the City of Centerville. No one made criminal checks on Kevin Stocker. The city has a policy of performing background checks on potential employees, but not on consultants.

On February 4, 2013, the committee presented the recommendation to the City Council. The Council immediately voted to enter into a consulting agreement with the firm. The next day, Mr. Stocker began assisting City staff with the formation of the budget and by all accounts, provided excellent assistance in beginning to craft the budget. On Thursday, February 7, 2013, I executed the agreement with CAM-PS.

The next day, a City staff member contacted the Police Chief and me regarding a 2005 criminal conviction of Mr. Stocker. The Police Chief confirmed the charges and infonned the City Attorney. After reviewing the agreement CAM-PS and the findings of the Police Chief, the City Attorney contacted aU council members to inform them of the issue and discuss the next stetJs in dealing with the matter. Yesterday, I met with Mr. Stocker to discuss his history and the information was passed on to the City Council Members. In addition, the City Attorney and I spoke with Mr. Stocker regarding the situation. Later in the day, one week after services commenced, Mr. Stocker informed the City that he desired to terminate his agreement with the City.

In summary, the City acted quickly to provide urgent budgetary assistance until a new city administrator is hired and selected CAM-PS based on Mr. Stocker's resume, interview and history working with other municipalities on issues similar to the issues now faced by the City. However, the City did not perform a criminal background check of Mr. Stocker that would have revealed the criminal conviction of Mr. Stocker. No one at the City had any knowledge of Mr. Stocker's criminal conviction before the agreement \vith CAM-PS was signed.

The City will work immediately to move forward with obtaining qualified temporary assistance until a new administrator can be hired.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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