Keokuk has gone without a city administrator since early 2008. City leaders hope to change that in the next few months.
The city hired Ray & Associates (Cedar Rapids) to handle the search. The firm met with Mayor Tom Marion, Alderman Roger Bryant, and Finance Director John Russell on Monday. The meetings will eventually include several aldermen as well.
Marion said the first few meetings with the firm will focus on establishing the qualifications and skill sets for the new city administrator.
"We are looking, of course, for somebody with some finance background because (he/she) will be taking over for Russell in the finance area," said Marion. Russell plans to retire in the next year or so.
Marion said Ray & Associates has provided a tentative schedule for the search process. It starts with advertisements for the position going out in a few weeks. Applications will be due September 8.
From there, interviews will be conducted. Marion hopes someone can be hired by mid-October, which is in line with the city council's goal of giving the new administrator more time to work with Russell, especially during budget season in January.
But Marion stressed the city will not settle on someone just to fill the position. "If we get candidates that we do not think are appropriate for the job, we are not going to rush into it," said Marion. "That's one thing we have indicated to (the firm), that we want to do this right."
The person hired will be Keokuk's second city administrator. The first, Odis Jones, was hired in late 2007. He resigned three months later to take a job on the East Coast.
Marion said in anticipation of the hiring, the city council is expected to reduce the mayor's workload to make it a part-time position. He said that change should be made before the end of July so those considering running for mayor know whether it will be a full- or part-time job.
Some of the savings from reducing it to part-time will be used to fund the city administrator position. The current mayoral salary is about $60,000/year.