Council seeks assistance from former city administrator

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After leaving his post on Dec. 4, former City Administrator Doug Herman’s services are requested by the Monticello City Council.

     During the Dec. 21 council meeting, the council approved hiring Herman at a flat rate of $20 a day to provide overnight of city administrator e-mails. This would involve checking the department e-mails and forwarding those on to respective department heads/staff as needed.

     Initially the fee was going to be $50 a day; however, Mayor Brian Wolken said Herman was willing to come down on the cost. Any work done over the weekends would be free of charge.

     “To send e-mails to city departments for $50 a day is a bit much,” commented Council member Dave Goedken.

     “It’s unfair to expect Doug to check e-mails at no cost,” Wolken said.

     Wolken said in the one- to two-month gap between Herman’s departure and the hiring of a new city administrator, some oversight is needed.

     “I don’t know many people who leave a place of employment and come back to help on a Saturday,” added Wolken.

     In addition, the council also approved of bringing Herman back in mid-January to assist with the in-person interviews of perspective city administrator candidates.

     “Doug is open to helping and is available at no charge if we want,” explained Wolken. “We would have some good insight with the final interviews.”

     Those final candidates would also be treated to a tour of the Monticello community. Council member Tom Yeoman felt that Herman could be utilized in that fashion as well.

     Wolken added that Herman’s insight and experience would be helpful for candidates seeking a direct answer to questions during the final interviews.

     Goedken reminded the council that Herman will continue to be the city’s legal counsel. In that capacity, he is still somewhat of a department head. Goedken said Herman’s presence would be beneficial.

     Herman also provided the council with a list of city projects and a status of where things sit following his departure. Some of those include:

     • Old Energy building development

     • City employee handbook

     • Creative Adventure Lab

     • N. Sycamore Street project

     • ORBIS easement agreement

     • City building code

     • Pocket park fence lawsuit

     • Various city invoices

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath provided an update on the N. Sycamore Street project and where things sit with the contractor, Horsfield.

     Some issues associated with the project were identified, and Schwickerath and Herman have tried making contact with Horsfield regarding those issues, seeking answers as to how and when they might be remedied.

     “They don’t feel they need to follow up on the additional items listed,” shared Schwickerath of Horsfield’s reply. Horsfield felt that after the city accepted the project and released the retainage, nothing more is needed on their behalf.

     The maintenance bond associated with the project is good for four years. Schwickerath said anything regarding workmanship would still be covered by the bond.

     Sycamore resident Bud Coyle has shared with the council on several occasions drainage issues he’s seen following the project at his property. Schwickerath said Horsfield requested evidence of such, which was provided.

     “Our correspondence should be adequate and evident enough to Horsfield that there’s a problem,” said Schwickerath. “It wasn’t constructed per the plans and the contractor was notified of the issues identified.”

     In addition, Schwickerath also documented cracks in the new sidewalk.

     He said during the final walk-through of the project, Horsfield agreed at that time to return if any issues were found.

     “They didn’t want to address anything at that time,” recalled Schwickerath.

     Wolken said the city Public Works staff could rectify the issues in the spring and bill Horsfield for the work and manhours.

     However the situation sits now, no work can be done until the spring.

In other city business:

   Public Works Director Nick Kahler informed the council that he received 26 applications for the open position within the department. Applicants were narrowed down to a few for interviews.

     • Police Chief Britt Smith met with property owner Steve Intlekofer regarding a driveway that is not in compliance at the corner of S. Cedar and W. Burroughs. Smith said due to the winter weather, there’s not much work that can be done until the spring. A May 1, 2021 deadline was placed on the project of removing gravel from in front of the home.

     • A public hearing was held to acknowledge receipt of finds for the police and ambulance departments through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

     • The second reading was approved, and the final reading waived, regarding an amendment to the Code of Ordinances regarding the makeup of the Airport Board.

     There will still be five members on the board, with one residing outside of the county.

     • The third and final reading was approved regarding city council member compensation.

     The council members’ salaries would increase to $3,600, same as the mayor’s salary. The new compensation would not take effect until January 2022, following the city elections in November 2021.

     Yeoman asked that discussion regarding increasing the mayor’s salary be placed on the next council agenda.


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