Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield City Council accepting applications for city administrator
FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield City Council has put together a plan for accepting applications for its open city administrator position, and plans to hold interviews in April, with final in-person interviews in early May.
The council has hired Hinson Consulting LLC to organize the search process. The company’s president, Brent Hinson, said he will perform this task with two other consultants, Mark Jackson and Pat Callahan. Callahan has been involved in finding city administrators the last two times Fairfield has had an opening.
Hinson said the city is advertising the city administrator position on various websites targeted to city government jobs, and some applications have already arrived. The city will cease accepting applications on April 13, and on April 17 the council will meet with Hinson to discuss the top candidates.
The first set of interviews with the semifinalists will be conducted over Zoom starting on April 19. The council will select a few candidates for in-person interviews May 5-6. Hinson said he will have already performed the necessary background checks and reference checks on the candidates by their in-person interviews, so the council could make an offer to a candidate as early as May 6.
“Once the council has made a decision, it will be in everybody’s best interest to move quickly,” Hinson said.
Hinson said the council should expect to wait 30-45 days for the new hire to start working, since that is the typical turnaround time for city administrators to give proper notice to their current employer and possibly relocate.
The salary range the council has published for the city administrator job is $125,000-$140,000. Hinson said the exact number will be subject to the qualifications of the applicant. The council’s list of “preferred qualifications” for the applicant includes a master’s degree in a related subject such as public administration or public affairs, and five to seven years of public sector management experience.
“Right now, any employer will tell you that we’re in a tight labor market for skilled positions,” Hinson said. “We’re definitely going into a candidate’s market, but the council has put itself in a position to be successful, and we’ll work hard to bring them good candidates.”
While the council looks for a new city administrator to replace Aaron Kooiker, whose last day was March 3, it has appointed two city officials to serve as interim city administrators: City Clerk Rebekah Loper and City Engineer and Public Works Director Melanie Carlson.
Kooiker had been the city’s administrator since 2017. He stepped down to become the city manager in Carroll. Kooiker was one of three people to serve as city administrator in the past decade. Before him, the role was filled by Mike Harmon, and before Harmon the position was occupied by Kevin Flanagan.
In addition to his role as the president of Hinson Consulting, Brent Hinson is the deputy city administrator in Mason City, where he is also in charge of finance. He was previously the city administrator in Washington for about 10 years.