The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


December 14, 2013

EDITORIAL: New council should make city attorney decision

Every once in a while, something happens at a local meeting that catches us completely off guard.

Something that seems so off the wall we are left scratching our heads and muttering in unison: “Wow, I did not see that coming.”

Such a moment unfolded Tuesday in the council chambers of Clinton City Hall when At Large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf made a motion, quickly seconded by Ward 2 Councilwoman Julie Allesee, to ask City Attorney Jeff Farwell to resign.

Now we have to couch this by saying Farwell’s performance evaluation was on the agenda for discussion Tuesday night and he requested that it be done in open session, so talk about his performance was expected. What we didn’t expect was that the council would ask for his resignation, agree to pay him a six-month severance package — which is twice as long as the terms of his contract state — with health insurance costs covered, and for the action to be voted on Dec. 20.

What seems so strange is the declared reason behind it: That several new members of the council will be seated next month and it should be up to those members to decide who they want to serve as the city attorney.

We agree with that sentiment. The new council members should decide who will be the city’s attorney. So why is this council making that decision for them?

The new council, which will take office Jan. 2, should be the final decision-makers in regards to Farwell’s employment. If they deem him satisfactory, then the new council should not ask for Farwell’s resignation.

If they want a fresh start, then the new council should make the best decision for Clinton residents.

What also has us questioning this situation is the ease Farwell displayed when agreeing with the council’s position. After all, wouldn’t most people faced with the prospect of being asked to leave a job feel the need to defend his or her work or provide reasons why they are the best one for the job? But instead, Farwell said that when he was going through the hiring process in 2010, there also was a new council and it was good those members had the chance to select their city attorney. He thought it would be good this time around as well.

Text Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • What it was like as a teen

    Ten years ago today, I’d like to think I was checking out educational books to prepare myself for my upcoming journey through college.

    In reality, I was probably playing video games and thinking of ways to have fun, while trying not to get into too much trouble.

    July 20, 2014

  • Randy Meier Spoofing practices resurface Spoofing is the practice deliberately falsifying a telephone number and/or name relayed to the caller ID feature of a phone. This type of call right now is the number one phone scam I receive. Many people report receiving calls appearing on caller ID

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Impeaching the president Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper cours

    July 18, 2014

  • Celebrate the renovated bandshell? Yes, but... I attended the ribbon cutting for the renovated bandshell on July 1. I was a proud member of the Vision 8 team that enabled the project. However, the previous Friday night, June 27, I was also a member of the cast of “Annie Get Your Gun.”When the Nat

    July 18, 2014


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results