The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

May 25, 2013

City administrator candidate bios

The Clinton Herald

---- — Jessica Kinser

Education: Bachelor of Science English-Rhetorical Studies; Bachelor of Arts: Political Science with a minor in criminal justice from Iowa State University in 2005; Masters of Public Administration Degree from Iowa State University in 2007.

Work experience:

• Police dispatcher, ISU Police at Iowa State University from October 2002 to August 2005.

• Program coordinator for Volunteer Center of Story County in Ames from October 2004 to May 2006.

• Program assistant in the purchasing department at Iowa State University from August 2005 to September 2007.

• Management/financial analyst for County of Ottawa, West Olive, Mich., from October 2007 to present.

• City administrator for the city of Griswold, Iowa, from February 2010 to October 2011.

• Finance director/assistant city administrator for the city of Clinton from October 2011 to present. She has served as Clinton’s interim city administrator since Jan. 22, 2013.


• Finance Committee of the United Way of Clinton County, Iowa

• Finance Committee of the YWCA of Clinton

• Clinton Rotary Club

• Government Finance Officers Association

• Iowa City/County Management Association

• International City/County Management Association

Kinser has lived in Clinton the past 14 months, serving as the city’s finance director, and then becoming the interim city administrator in January following the November resignation of former city administrator Jeff Horne.

“I bring a strong financial background to the position of city administrator,” she notes in her application to the city. “Clinton has seen a financial downturn in recent years which has stressed the finances of the city, resulting in numerous, difficult issues. My achievements over the past year include a balanced General Fund budget for fiscal year 2013, a clear picture of the status of the city’s utilities, implementation of financial policies and procedures, communicating the city’s financial status to stakeholders and more.”

She points out that her management philosophy is “that you cannot lead from the top unless you know what happens at the bottom. I am not afraid to see how the job is done throughout the organization and pitch in wherever I can.”

Benjamin Benson

Education: Bachelor of Science, majoring in recreation, parks and tourism administration with a minor in business management; Western Illinois University, 1992; Internship program in spring 1993 at WIU

Work experience:

• Chicago Southland CVB, sales manager internship, Olympia Fields, Ill., spring 1993.

• Tacoma-Pierce County CVB, sales manager, Tacoma, Wash., 1993-1995.

• DuPage County Convention and Visitors Bureau, director of sales, Oak Brook, Ill., 1995-1997.

• Circuit Services Group, consulting representative, Yorkville, Ill., 1998-2003.

• Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, director of sales, Elgin, Ill., 2003-2004.

• City of Joliet Visitors Bureau, executive director/founder, 2004-2008.

• City of Joliet director of marketing and communications, city manager’s office, 2008-2010.

• City of Joliet assistant city manager in the city manager’s officer, from June 2010 to present.


• International City/County Management Association

• Illinois City/County Management Association

• Will County Managers Association

• Board President of Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau

• Illinois Council of Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Member

• Joliet Chamber Board member and chairman of business/community development

• Will County CED/CCP marketing committee

• Baseball Advisory Committee

• Joliet Sports Hall of Fame

• Sports Illinois Past Chairman

• OMA Rules Training via Ill. AG Office

• IEMA certified PIO

• City of Joliet EMA team member

Benson describes himself as a dynamic individual with career-minded goals and more than 16 years combined experience in community marketing and municipal government.

“I am ready for the challenges of planning and executing a cohesive management effort in government for Clinton, Iowa,” he wrote in his application. “My understanding of budgeting and cost control measures along with my experience in the supervision of executive, professional and technical staff will offer guidance and service to the city for many years to come.”

Benson is familiar with Clinton because he had a college friend who lived here and had visited many times. He is impressed with the city’s quality-of-life offerings.

“On a professional view, the city appears prepared for continued growth over the next decade with the technology hub and businesses along with the good educational platforms,” he wrote. “It would be a rewarding experience to enter the community and share my experiences and assist in guiding the vision of the mayor and council into a continued organization platform for success.”