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Keokuk Alderwoman: Restart Administrator Search

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Keokuk Alderwoman Susan Dunek pledged to bring up the idea of hiring a a city administrator until something happens.  She said the city council would be foolish to just step back and do nothing.
"Our city really is at a point where the benefit of a city administrator is going to be critical to what we are able to do in the future," said Dunek.  "It's time to move forward."

The city council halted its search in March after deciding it did not have the funding to pay an administrator, or even hire a search firm.

Dunek said that's no longer the case.  She said the city's finance director discovered Keokuk owns about $88,000 in stock that could be used to pay for the position for one year.

Dunek said the new administrator might be able to find enough savings to fund the position while moving Keokuk forward.  She said the first step for the city should be to reduce the mayor's position from full-time to part-time.

“We have the ability, as a (city) council, to see the merits of making the mayor position a 75% position or a 50% position versus what it is now to free some funds up to allow us to do what we need to do," said Dunek.

Other members of the city council have concerns about the proposal.  Alderman Ron Payne said he has a hard time committing to a position when there is only some one-time money to pay for the first year.

"(I) can't bring myself to say we can make it 8-12 months and then say, 'Who knows,'" said Payne.

Alderman Roger Bryant took the discussion in a different direction, questioning what happens if a city administrator is hired.

"Every department we have is shorthanded," said Bryant.  "If (an administrator) comes to us and says to hire people, what are we going to do?  We will need to take their advice."

Mayor Tom Marion said he would develop a resolution to reduce the mayor's role.  He did not know when it would be prepared for a vote by the city council.

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