The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 18, 2013

Council evaluates Kinser, happy with first 90 days

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Jessica Kinser has little concern about the future of her job as city administrator, after the Clinton City Council showered her with praise last week during her 90-day performance evaluation.

The evaluation criteria Kinser underwent included 10 categories of her job performance; categories the City Council were in charge of scoring with a one to five rating, five being the highest.

Kinser also had an opportunity on Tuesday to speak to the council about how she feels her first 90 days as city administrator has gone, and how she can improve on some of her lower scoring categories.

"I should strive everyday to be a five," Kinser said. "But, if I get a five everyday, I should be walking on water."

In the evaluation, Kinser scored the highest in individual characteristics which included her display of enthusiasm and cooperation, her exercise of good judgment, her diligence and discharge of duties and the level of professionalism she displays in her position.

Some of her weaknesses, according to the council, came in the policy execution category which highlighted Kinser's ability, or inability, to understand the details of local government such as laws, policies and ordinances.

"I would say that I agree, that at times, I don't always have direction and I think that's because we don't have a strategic plan," Kinser said. "I want us all to be on the same page. I think we're getting there, but we're not there right now."

As a whole, the council made it clear they were happy with the strength and leadership Kinser has shown in a difficult time for the city of Clinton.

"I want to thank you. You jumped into a huge challenge and you've done a great job," said Councilwoman Bev Herman, after which councilman Charlie Mullholland added, "I echo that."

Although there was positivity for Kinser's performance, she knows there will be challenges ahead as three new members join the council, and three that she has worked with and gotten to know, will leave.

Councilwoman Jennifer Graf pointed out that she would not be with the council for much longer, but that she felt good about being able to evaluate Kinser before that time came.

"This was our responsibility," Graf said. "I'm glad we got to do this before four of us leave."

Whether their time on the council is up, everyone agreed that in order to keep the city of Clinton running smoothly, there needs to be a strong level of communication, a level that starts with Kinser.

"I agree there is always room for improvement with communication. Have I always done my best? No, I have made mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes," Kinser said. "But, I will continue to give my best each day that I'm here."