The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 28, 2012

Council changes city administrator search process

Nixes committee idea and may go with interim plan

CLINTON — Clinton is looking for a new city administrator and someone to manage the city in the interim. 

The Clinton City Council unanimously accepted the resignation of City Administrator Jeff Horne during its meeting Tuesday night. Horne will receive a severance package of six months’ salary and family health benefits as set out in his contract.  

“I want to thank you for the privilege of being city administrator and wish the city and its people nothing but the best,” Horne wrote in his resignation letter that was submitted Friday, Nov. 16.  

The council met with Horne in closed session for 15 minutes Nov. 12 to discuss his performance.  

When they came out of closed session, council members unanimously asked for Horne to resign.

Prior to the meeting, Horne had been on leave for personal reasons for several weeks.  

During the Committee of the Whole meeting, council members discussed how to approach hiring the next city administrator and what should be done while the search is performed.  

The past three city administrators have been hired through a committee formed by the mayor, and consisting of the mayor and three City Council members to refine what the city is looking for and how to handle the process. But that’s not the approach a majority of the council members wanted to take as they search for the next city leader. 

“I’m not a big believer of doing things the way they’ve always been done,” Ward 3 councilwoman Bev Herman said. “I think it would be better if we thought about the entire council being involved with this and the mayor and that we have Paul Greufe come in and help us decide how to go about this and advise us as we go along.”

Councilman John Rowland, at-large, made a motion to hire Greufe, the city’s current human resources consultant, to lead the search for a permanent city administrator and report to the Committee of the Whole throughout the process.

Council members Hermann, Jennifer Graf, at-large; and Julie Allesee, Ward 2, further stated they would like Greufe to find an interim city administrator to take some of the work off city staff including City Attorney Jeff Farwell, who is currently serving as acting city administrator.

“I agree that an interim City Administrator would be the way to go. The sooner the better,” Graf said. “I think we would be attractive to be a community for a city interim administrator even though we have some issues and some things we need to settle. This person would be a professional who actually does this.  He would be someone who is experienced and has done this for several years.”

Ward 1 councilwoman Maggie Klaes was not a fan of this plan.  

“I’m not a big person on going out and paying someone to decide who we should like,” she said.

She and Ward 4 councilman Paul Gassman cast the two dissenting votes on the motion to put Greufe in charge of the search. The other five council members voted in favor of the motion.

“I’d like to see Mr. Greufe take over and do a thorough search and also do background checks on the person we’re hiring. I’d also like to see a city interim person come in. It could be six months that we’re talking about here during which time we’re going to be going through a budget period. I think it’s going to be really important to take the right steps to get this handled correctly this time,” Allesee said.

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