Parks and Rec Director hiring process sparks lengthy council discussion

By Denise Lana,

The Decorah City Council held a lengthy discussion Monday night regarding hiring the city’s new Parks and Recreation Director. 

Clarification was requested regarding city code that says the director answers directly to the city manager, but a separate part of code said that the director is appointed by the city manager, city council and the parks and recreation board. 

“I desire clarification on this,” City Manager Travis Goedken said. “Does Council want to establish a representative, does the park board establish a representative, or does city manager hire?” 

Councilwoman Emily Neal suggested hiring be done by a committee process, with Fifth Ward Councilman Steve Zittergruen adding that a committee made up of the mayor, city manager, and a parks and recreation board representative would be sufficient for him.  

Goedken stressed that a three-member panel is typical for what he has seen. 

Neal then voiced that she liked the idea of more than three members, suggesting a hiring team comprised of a city superintendent representative, the chief of police, city manager, a council member, the city clerk and a parks and recreation representative. 

“This is not a power trip ego thing, but as the person responsible for that person, my job is to take care of the goals and objectives of that job,” Goedken said. He went on to explain that he would never vote against a larger group who wanted to hire someone different than who he would want to hire. 

Full article in the April 18 Public Opinion Newspaper. 

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