MUSCATINE – The Muscatine City Council did not look far to find an interim city administrator, as council members voted 4-3 Thursday evening to hire Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO Greg Jenkins to serve.
Jenkins had announced his intent to retire from the chamber at the end of the year and commented that a week ago he had not even considered doing something like this. During discussion, council member Santos Saucedo said he had reached out to Jenkins to see if he would be willing to assume the role. Jenkins’ salary is set to be $100 per hour. Saucedo said the amount is less than half the cost of some of the other candidates the council considered.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Jenkins said after the meeting. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff and the council. We have a great city and we have great resources and great people trying to do the right thing and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with them.”
During discussion, it was stressed the position would be temporary until the city can find a new city administrator to replace Gregg Mandsager, whose contract was terminated during the Dec. 5 meeting with a 4-3 vote. It was an identical vote that approved Jenkins to the position, with council members Tom Spread, Phillip Fitzgerald and Allen Harvey opposing the action.
All three council members who opposed the appointment said they had worked with Jenkins and thought he would make a good candidate. Spread objected to there being no formal job interview for Jenkins, saying this is the time when the council would lay out Jenkins' job duties. Fitzgerald said he was concerned Jenkins would have a problem with the coming city budget.
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Jenkins credited city finance director Nancy Lueck as the a primary reason the city’s budgets for the last several years had worked well, and he feels with her help it can continue.
During the meeting, the question was raised if Jenkins could be voted on. The agenda stated the council would review the contract of a potential interim city administrator. A link on the city’s web site went to a contract for Mark Arentsen and no other candidates. Mayor Diana Broderson said she had discussed the issue with the city attorney and it was fine for the council to vote on it.
Council also approved with a 4-3 vote to have city staff look into hiring independent counsel to represent the city in dealing with potential issues with Mandsager. Staff will bring back three names and the rates.
Broderson commented after the meeting that paying Jenkins' salary, buying out Mandsager and paying for an independent attorney, if the council chooses to do that, will come from the city’s general fund.