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Keokuk Ready to Hire City Administrator Search Firm

Talk about finding someone to manage day-to-day city operations in Keokuk could soon turn into action.

The position of city administrator has been vacant for nearly seven years.  Odis Jones became Keokuk's first city administrator in November 2007, but he left just three months later to take a job with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The city council has talked about hiring a new city administrator many times since then without taking action.  But it appears that will finally change as the city council has reached a consensus to locate a firm to lead the search for a city administrator.

Alderwoman Susan Dunek said residents are eager to add a professional presence to city government.

"The question I keep getting asked is, 'When are you going to do it?' 'How are you going to do it?' 'When are we going to see something happen?'" said Dunek.  "I think it will give some confidence to the city."

She hoped the council will select a search firm in the next 4-to-6 weeks.  It could cost the city $11,000-to-$12,000 to hire a firm.

Dunek's goal is to have the position filled before the filing deadline for the 2015 city election.  That would allow potential mayoral candidates to know the requirements of the position.

The mayor of Keokuk is currently a full-time job.  An administrator could potentially assume some of those duties, which could allow for the mayor's position to be reduced to part-time status.

The administrator could also take over some responsibilities currently held by the city clerk and the finance director.  The position would serve at the pleasure of the mayor and city council.

Mayor Tom Marion said the annual salary for a city administrator could be about $88,000.

Marion told the city council during its most recent workshop that he has yet to decide whether he will seek another term.  He has previously said he did not plan to run for re-election.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.