By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
With budget season quickly approaching, members of the Clinton City Council are developing a plan to secure interim help while they and other community leaders search for a permanent city administrator.
Council members met with Paul Greufe, who basically has been declared the leader of the city administrator search even though they have yet to formally agree to pay his nearly $22,000 fee.
They addressed the question of whether to hire an interim city administrator and if that person should come from inside or outside of the city’s current employee pool.
The benefit of hiring an external interim would be potential experience the person would have.
On the other hand, pursuing an external interim lends little to the recruitment process because the person will likely be someone who is retired and not seeking permanent full-time employment.
Pursuing an internal candidate is more cost effective, Greufe said.
It also allows the city to use someone familiar with the city’s issues. However, an internal might not have the experience an external candidate would.
Councilwoman Jennifer Graf, at-large, said she was in favor of hiring someone from within to take the position during the slated four-month search period.
“If we’re looking at an aggressive time frame by the end of April, I think...it would be critical to have someone that has the pulse of the city and their knowledge that would come from someone internally. And I also would state in my opinion it’s got to be someone who is full-time, that is critical. I think we’ve been beating up Jeff Farwell long enough. Let’s let him go back to being city attorney.”
Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman did not agree.
“I’m not in favor of hiring anyone internally for the job. I would rather we hire someone on a temporary basis,” Gassman said. “I think we need to have someone who’s very educated and experienced in that job and not subject one of our current employees to something they haven’t been involved in or maybe have not practiced for years and years.”
Five of the seven council members voted that they would like to have an interim city administrator to serve that would be promoted internally. Gassman and Ward 1 Councilwoman Maggie Klaes voted against an internal interim.
Greufe then detailed the process he recommends they should follow.
“You would look at what current duties and responsibilities aren’t being done in the absence of the city administrator. You’d look internally to find out if in your belief there was someone who would be best suited for that role,” Greufe said. “We know this wouldn’t be a permanent. If an internal was proposed and accepted then, to me, the next step would be to have that conversation. To have a discussion as to expectations and understanding that this is simply a temporary position for a four-month period or until such time that we have a full-time city administrator in place.”
He assumed the council would look at the department head level and their duties would become blended with the city administrator role. This would also include additional duties possibly being taken on by other employees within whatever department the internal interim would come from.
Council members also discussed the creation of a selection committee that could include elected officials and community members. Council members submitted names of people they would like to see on the search committee.
They are Julie Allesee, Robert Betsinger, Matt Brisch, Fire Chief Mike Brown, Tim Clark, Tom Determann, John Frey, Tom Fullerton, Devon Guillory, Police Chief Brian Guy, Tom Hesselmann, Dave Keefer, Pat Lonergan, Pastor Ron Lott, Robert McGee, the Rev. Josh Meyer, Rita Mulholland, Rich Phelan, Mike Rastrelli, Dave Rose, Nathan Sondgeroth, Karen Vickers, Mark Vulich, Jack Waldorf and LaMetta Wynn. Brenda Thorton was also on the list, but was taken off because she does not reside in Clinton.
That list of 26 should be narrowed down to 10 or 15, Greufe said.
Council members will meet at 9 a.m. Monday to narrow the list and further discuss the search.