The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 31, 2013

City administrator searches in Clinton, Fulton

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Assistant Editor

---- — CLINTON — Clinton officials didn't have to look far when they found the city's new administrator this year. After an exhaustive search process, council members chose someone who had been guiding them for months.

Interim City Administrator and Finance Director Jessica Kinser was officially selected in June to fill the position that had been vacant for seven months.

Kinser, who started as the city's finance director in October 2011, served as interim city administrator for six months after former City Administrator Jeff Horne resigned. Citing her performance during her time as administrator and knowledge of the city's financial situation, the council then gave unanimous support to her promotion to the permanent position. Council members' approval garnered applause from department heads and community members who attended the June 23 City Council meeting.

Although Kinser was inside city hall the whole time, candidates from far and wide were given the opportunity to apply for the job.

The council took a new approach to find the city's chief executive officer this time around.

Whereas previous city administrators were selected by a committee of council members and the mayor, the council this time decided to hand the search process to others. The council selected a 12-member community group to work with human resource consultant Paul Greufe to perform the search. Together, the group narrowed down a list that started with 24 applicants. They performed interviews and selected Kinser and Ben Benson, who was the assistant city administrator of Joliet, Ill., as the top two candidates. The two finalists underwent an intensive interview process with community and business leaders in late May.

Council members are apparently pleased with their decision. In her 90-day evaluation, they showered her with praise for her enthusiasm, diligence and professionalism.

Fulton, Ill., also welcomed a new city leader this year. In October, City Council members selected Ed Cannon, ending a process that included two rounds of applications and interviews.

Cannon, of Lake Zurich, Ill., replaced retired City Administrator Randy Balk. The council received more than 100 applications for the position after the search started in July.

When the city opened the position to the public in the spring, it received more than 40 applications and narrowed the field down to five final candidates in September.

However, the candidate the city felt would fit the position did not work out, prompting the council to re-open the position and start the second round of applications that led them to Cannon.