Herman resigns, Brighton appointed to council

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Two newsworthy items of note came out of the first Monticello City Council meeting in October.

     City Administrator Doug Herman announced his resignation, effective Dec. 4.

     Herman’s resignation comes after 14 years serving the City of Monticello, having started in June 2006. Prior to becoming city administrator, Herman was an attorney in Monticello for 12 years.

     He will be joining the Cedar Rapids-based law firm Lynch Dallas, P.C., to return to practicing law.

     During the Oct. 4 council meeting, Herman acknowledged having informed the council personally before the evening’s meeting.

     “I never intended to do this job for more than four or five years,” he admitted. “But the timing is just right.”

     Herman urged the council to form a search committee sooner rather than later to decide how best go about finding and hiring a new city administrator.

     “I hope that within the next 60 days we could wrap up a lot of things,” offered Herman, not wanting his replacement to start with a lot on his/her plate right away. “We need to get moving fairly quickly.”

     Herman also thanked all of the mayors, city council members, and city staff he’s worked with throughout his time in Monticello.

     “I don’t want to leave the city in a bad way,” he said. “I appreciate the staff. We have a really good staff right now.”

     One of the next steps the council needs to consider includes whether to work with a firm to assist in the hiring process.

     “We need to know those outside costs,” Council member Dave Goedken said.

     The council decided to have a special council meeting on Monday, Oct. 12 at 5:15 p.m. to consider their next steps in finding a new city administrator.

     Following Gary Feldmann’s resignation in early September as the Ward 1 council member, the council received inquiries from three residents in that ward interested in serving: Scott Brighton, Tom Osborne, and Birdsie Robinson.

     Brighton, who joined the council via Zoom due to voluntary quarantine, said he was approached by community members in Ward 1 to fill the remainder of Feldmann’s term. He also spoke with Feldmann about what serving on the council fully entails.

     “I wanted to help out the community in anyway I could,” Brighton said.

     Robinson, whose family moved to town in 2018 from residing in the county, said he just wanted to get involved in the community.

     Osborne moved to Monticello five years ago to retire, and started volunteering with various groups and organizations.

     “I feel I have a good telling of both the assets and needs,” Osborne said of Monticello.

     Feldmann also addressed the council, speaking in favor of Brighton.

     “I feel Scott will carry on the same common-sense attitude I started my term with,” he said. “Anyone on the council who appreciated my insight would do well to appoint Scott.”

     Council member Tom Yeoman agreed. “Scott has lived in the community for a number of years; he has kids in the school system.” Yeoman said while the council is diverse in the male/female ratio, they are lacking younger council members.

     The council voted 4-1 to appoint Brighton, with Council member Brenda Hanken opposed.

     Council member Dave Goedken thanked Osborne and Robinson for their interest, noting that it’s been hard in the past getting people to run for council.

     Brighton was read the oath of office and sworn in virtually.

     The Ward 1 seat will appear on the November 2021 ballot for election.

In other city business:

   Dave Schoon spoke during the Open Forum, asking why the Monticello School District was allowed to erect four new signs on wooden posts, when it goes against the city’s sign ordinance.

     “Aren’t those supposed to be monument signs?” Schoon said.

     Both Police Chief Britt Smith and Public Works Director Nick Kahler informed Schoon that the signs were for direction purposes for the new school campus to help direct traffic around the high school and middle school when picking up and dropping students off at school.

     “Those are just temporary signs,” Kahler said.

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