The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

June 27, 2013

UPDATED: City council officially names Kinser administrator

CLINTON — Clinton city hall filled with applause Tuesday night as the Clinton City Council approved Jessica Kinser as the permanent city administrator.

The council unanimously approved a contract with Kinser, causing the department heads and community members who attended the City Council meeting to share their excitement for Kinser to ascend from the interim city administrator role she has held for the past six months.

In January, council members selected Kinser, who has been the finance director since October 2011, to fill the role of interim city administrator after former city administrator Jeff Horne resigned in November of last year.

“I’m happy. I’m relieved to get to this point and I’m excited to start working on all the things we’ve been talking about accomplishing,” Kinser told the Herald following the meeting.

Earlier this year, the City Council opted to have human resource consultant Paul Greufe lead a committee of community members in finding the next city administrator. The committee then selected Kinser and Ben Benson, the assistant city manager for Joliet, Ill., out of a pool of 24 candidates. The two finalists underwent an intensive interview process with community and business leaders in late May.

During the committee of the whole meeting on June 11 council members directed Greufe to negotiate an employment contract with Kinser. The contract language reads it was in full force once approved by council members Tuesday night.  

Under the approved contract, Kinser’s annual salary will be $106,500 for the first 90 days in her role as city administrator and will increase to $107,500 after that 90-day period. Upon completion of a successful review annually, she will receive an additional $2,500 or an equal percentage given to non-union city employees, whichever is greater.

Mayor Mark Vulich questioned the part of Kinser’s contract stating the council would review Kinser, when under city ordinance it states the city administrator is responsible to the mayor and the council.  

City Attorney Jeff Farwell told Vulich the contract specifically states the council will be involved in performance evaluations because the hiring and firing of a city administrator is strictly up to the council.

The approved contract also stipulates she will receive three months of severance pay if she is terminated while being willing and able to perform her duties or if the City Council suggests she resign. However, this stipulation might be increased in the future, council members indicated Tuesday.

At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf pointed out the previous city administrators have received six-month severance packages. Graf asked if the contract could be revised to six months, given the history of the previous contracts.

Farwell explained the ordinance dictating the benefit states the city administrator would receive three months, but it did not state if that was three months minimum or maximum. He suggested if council members wanted to increase the amount of severance pay, they should revise the ordinance to specify three months as the minimum.  

Kinser said of the many items the city must address, she is most eager to establish a strategic plan.  

“The strategic planning process is something I’m really ready to start because it’s not just a council or city administrator process, it should be a public process. I’m ready to get that going and get the community involved.”    

As city administrator, Kinser will be responsible for hiring her replacement for finance director. Until one can be hired, she will serve as both.  

“I’m going to brush off that job description and get that job posted as soon as possible,” Kinser said. 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

  • UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria

    The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, causing deaths and injuries.

    Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the current council president, said the allegations were raised during a closed-door council meeting following a briefing Wednesday by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

    Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. It is a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors that see the shrine as distinct from other Shinto-style establishments mainly honoring gods of nature. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

    April 23, 2014

  • Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

    An Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday to living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

    The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

    April 23, 2014

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    To help veterans leaving the military as it downsizes, the government on Wednesday started a one-stop job-shopping website for them to create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database for companies to mine.

    April 23, 2014

  • Schultz deputy lost duties, kept pay

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is running for Congress as a budget-cutting conservative, allowed his top aide to keep collecting a $126,000 annual salary for months after deciding to eliminate his job, The Associated Press has learned.

    Schultz decided in May 2012 to cut the office's chief deputy position held for 17 months by Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach and Republican congressional candidate, under a restructuring that ultimately saved money. But rather than dismiss Gibbons quickly as he did to four career workers laid off that summer, Schultz took unusual steps that kept his political appointee on the payroll through the end of the year.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video