Manager search in city hands

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The West Liberty City Council chose four final candidates for city manager, established fees for city services and approved water main construction on Sixth Street.

The search for West Liberty's next city manager continued during the city council meeting. Council members chose four candidates to bring to West Liberty as well as one alternate.

Those candidates and their spouses will be brought to town for further evaluation and interviews by the council and the community on March 14-15.

Expenses for travel, lodging and meals will be reimbursed by the city. Candidates will also receive a tour of West Liberty before the interview process.

Before choosing the finalist, Vice President of Vorhees Associates LLC Dr. Karl Nollenberger briefly discussed 12 candidates in a work session before the city council meeting.

Vorhees Associates was chosen to begin the search process months ago; it received applications from 46 individuals from all over the United States. It brought a dozen of the best resumes before the council.

"It's just time to transition from me being the contact for all these people to you being the contact for all these people," said Dr. Nollenberger. "When it comes time for the interviews I'll be there to make sure everything is going alright, but I'll be in the background."

Names were not released to the public; rather, candidates were referred to as letters of the alphabet. Individual council members chose five of his or her favorite applicants and marked them on a white board.

After the data was collected, the group whittled it down to four finalists. According to Nollenberger cities usually bring in five to six finalists. However, in the interest of saving money the council chose four.

"Thinking about costs, and paying travel expenses, and all of those types of things, I would like to see us narrow that field of candidates that we bring here down lower, because it is quite costly to bring candidates," said council member Melody Russell.

Candidates will be subject to interviews from the council and from a panel of citizens chosen by the council. A meet and greet of the candidates and their spouses will be held Friday, March 14, at the West Liberty Public Library.

In other business, the council approved establishing fees for various services provided by the city and the police department in West Liberty.

According to Mayor Robert Hartman the city wants to provide the services, but needs set fees to keep the services going.

"We have normally done services for the public and either have charged very little or no fee, but it does cost the city to do the paperwork and spend the time to get the information for citizens," he said.

Two sets of fees, one for the city and the other for the police department, were both approved by the council through a roll call vote.

Some services provided by the police department include accident/arrest/incident reports, $5; public records of criminal histories, $10; digital photos, $5 each; finger printing, $15; vehicle theft examinations, $30; video tape/CD/DVD/audio, $20.

Some services provided by the city include black and white copies, $.25 a page; color copies, $.75 a page; local faxing, $1.50; long distance faxing, $2; notary services; $5.

The rates have already taken effect and are available to all citizens in West Liberty. To get a full list of services contact the city.

"There's just a list of activities that the police department provides for the citizens that we're getting in line with, making sure we can afford to do those things," said Mayor Hartman. "That's the reason for the establishing of the fees."

Finally, the city approved a $26,000 contract with Veenstra & Kimm, Inc for water main improvements and isolated valve replacements on Sixth Street.

Water mains are the main line in water supply throughout the city, while valves maintain the flow of water. The construction is part of upgrading West Liberty's water system. Once completed water reliability will increase on the street.

The project will replace the water main between Elm and Clay Street and put in a new fire hydrant. The construction is similar to that which took place on Seventh Street last summer.

Also, valves will be replaced on the curb line south of Third Street, the southwest corner of First and Columbus Street, the west boulevard of Miller Street south of Ninth Street and behind the curb on Calhoun Street.

Construction will begin in May and should end in June. All pavement torn up during the process will be replaced and water services restored.
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