City Manager position, variety of other items discussed during special session of Waukon City Council

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met for a special session Monday, June 27 to discuss several items including the proposed City Manager position, Street Department applications and a resolution for salaried and non-union wages and vacation. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Duane DeWalle, with Council members Dwight Jones and Steve Wiedner not present for the special session.

The first agenda item for discussion involved the Lyle Dee subdivision plat. Dee is requesting that his house be separated from the surrounding farmland. The motion was approved.

The Indian Springs Pond Project was the next topic discussed by the Council. Jim Hanson with Hanson Construction was present and expressed concern with the reduced payment that the City has indicated will be paid for the dredging work and the amount of soil and material removed from the pond. Lyle TeKippe, Senior Project Manager with Fehr-Graham Engineering, addressed some of the concerns and agreed that more discussion and negotiation need to take place to reach an agreement that is fair to the City as well as the public's interest. The issue was tabled by the Council until the next meeting, and more information was requested of Hanson.

The resolution for salaried and non-union wages and vacation was the next topic addressed by the Council. Salary levels for several employees were discussed and agreed upon. The benefit of comp time has been taken away from department supervisors and that was taken into consideration in determining raises. Supervisors are only allowed to carry 80 hours of vacation time over into the next year but can cash out 25% of any vacation time over 80 hours rather than having that time completely lost and receiving no benefit from it.

The proposed City Manager position was the next agenda item to be discussed by the Council. Mayor DeWalle mentioned that the Council is only in the discussion phase of this process. Council members discussed the work responsibilities of this position and that education and experience in engineering, management and economic development would be areas a candidate would need to be proficient in.

DeWalle commented that this individual would act as a conduit to the City Council and that the authority to make decisions needs to remain with the Mayor and City Council. In the discussion, the credentials of the current Decorah City Administrator were cited as a great example of the type of candidate that Waukon should seek. It was explained that the Administrator's combination of experience and education is serving Decorah well in that role, and that a candidate with similar education and experience would be ideal to fill a similar type of position in Waukon. The Council agreed that further discussion is necessary with all Council members present.

The Street Department job applications were the next item up for discussion. There were eight applicants and the Council narrowed the choices down to the two top candidates. The Council discussed the candidates without providing names at this time since a formal job offer or decision has not been made. The Council asked for feedback from Street Superintendent Keith Burrett, who commented that he is familiar with both of the candidates the Council is considering and both have been solid employees with an excellent work ethic. The selection will be made at the next Council meeting.

The next regular session of the Waukon City Council was scheduled for Tuesday, July 5 due to the Fourth of July holiday falling on the Council's regular Monday meeting day.

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