Waukon City Council approves offering city manager position, discusses retirement of Police Chief Phil Young in special session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in special session Thursday morning, July 25 to address a short agenda of items including the hiring of a city manager and a police department personnel matter. Mayor Pat Stone called the meeting to order with a change in the agenda being approved allowing the police department personnel item to be addressed first.

Police Chief Phil Young advised that he will be retiring this fall after serving 31-1/2 years with the Waukon Police Department. Young and the council were in agreement that he will need to meet with Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) personnel in Des Moines to establish the most advantageous final employment date in accordance with his retirement benefits and accrued vacation time. Council member John Ellingson advised that a severance package would need to be developed. The council and Young discussed the potential appointment of Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner as interim Police Chief following Young’s final work day on the schedule. Young agreed to attempt to meet with IPERS prior to the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

The council moved into discussion of hiring a city manager with council member Gayle Decker providing an update on contract negotiations that have taken place with a candidate. Decker indicated that the candidate has proposed contract changes relating to moving or relocation expenses and covering professional development expenses including membership dues for three professional organizations. Council member Arvid Hatlan discussed the importance of professional development for the person in the city manager position while making a comparison to the continued education and training opportunities provided to department heads.

Stone discussed concerns relating to the termination process, if necessary, with an employment contract. Decker discussed evaluating the performance of the individual in the city manager role. The council further discussed the compensation level in the contract with moving expenses up to $7,500 requiring documentation for reimbursement and $3,500 budgeted for professional development to include membership dues for professional organizations. Ellingson, Hatlan and council member Ben Rausch suggested that the individual in the city manager position would decide which professional development opportunities would be pursued. Decker provided statistics relating to city manager salaries and experience levels indicating that the candidate is being offered a salary below the average of someone at his experience level.

Ellingson motioned to approve the city manager employment agreement with Gary W. Boden of Bloomfield, effective September 23 of this year and subject to final administrative and legal counsel review and approval, with changes discussed involving the elimination of the city manager position in which the City of Waukon will compensate one year of salary for the candidate and one year of insurance for the candidate and his wife. The council approved the amended employment contract to be offered to Boden.

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