At the Muscatine City Council’s (the Council’s) in-depth meeting on Thursday, December 13th, the Council voted to appoint Greg Jenkins Interim City Administrator. The Council also appointed Rich Klimes to assist Greg Jenkins in his duties until the Council appoints a permanent city administrator.
Previously, the Council had discussed appointing Mark Arentsen as interim city administrator. City Attorney Matt Brick had recommended him as a willing candidate.
However, Council Member Santos Saucedo put Jenkins name forward as a possible interim instead. Saucedo considered his previous work at the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GMCCI) evidence of his leadership ability. “I believe his history speaks for itself, in regards [to acting] as a good community activist that has history within the community, with council members, with past businesses and current businesses, and [as] a true ambassador [with] the desire to help the community.” Saucedo also appreciated that Jenkins had expressed a willingness to work for $100 per hour, half the cost of most estimates for an interim city administrator salary.
Not every council member felt that moving to appoint Jenkins so quickly made sense. Council Member Allen Harvey felt the Council should not name Jenkins interim city administrator until after he fully understood the requirements of the job. “I wouldn’t want to put him in the position of making budget decisions without having an experience or a history of doing so.”
Council Member Tom Spread shared his concern, going so far as to suggest holding a formal job interview for Jenkins to help him better understand the responsibilities of an interim city administrator. “There should be an honest discussion of what’s expected of him,” Spread added.
As an additional consideration, Council Member Phillip Fitzgerald urged the Council to explore hiring an internal candidate as interim city administrator, as they would have more familiarity with the city budget and operations. “I know Greg quite well. I’m not sure he’s the one I’d want to put in this [position]. He has all those capabilities Mr. Santos mentioned, but he has little or no experience with the budget other than preparing his section of it,” Fitzgerald elaborated. The GMCCI does receive some money from the City, and thus participates in a small portion of its annual budget planning.
After weighing all these considerations, the Council approved appointing Jenkins Interim City Administrator four votes to three. Jenkins will take up his position part time on December 16th and full time on January 2nd.