By Doug Lindner
SOLON– The City of Solon didn’t have to look very far for a new city administrator.
Former mayor Cami Rasmussen has entered into an employment agreement with the city to serve as city administrator for a term of one year.
According to acting mayor Steve Stange, the move assures continuity for city operations and stability for the city budget. At the end of the one-year agreement, the position will be advertised and a long term candidate will be sought, Stange said.
For now, however, the move buys the city some time.
“I didn’t want to go backwards,” Stange said. When city administrator Cassandra Lippincott announced her intention to leave for a new post in Florida, Stange knew he wanted someone of the same caliber to replace her. “I didn’t think we could do it in a four-week time frame,” he said.
After consulting with Lippincott, Stange approached Rasmussen about the possibility of filling in until the city could transition into its new city hall headquarters.
But then it would start running into the planning for the next fiscal year’s budget, he said, as well other pending projects like upgraded sewer service for Windmill Estates and the need for a new water tower.
“When Steve approached me with the concept, my first reaction was ‘How long?’” Rasmussen said. “I had to ponder and evaluate it.”
Three months didn’t seem like enough to get through the current budget, evaluate it and prepare for the next, she said, so a period of up to a year was suggested.
Stange consulted behind the scenes with other council members, and they all agreed with the transition role for Rasmussen.
Rasmussen resigned her position as mayor at a special council meeting March 27 and was appointed to the city managerial position for an interim, 30-day period.
At a special council meeting Tuesday, April 29, Rasmussen’s one-year contract was unanimously approved.
Rasmussen had been the only applicant for the interim one-year position, which was not widely advertised by the city.
She was interviewed by council personnel committee members Ron Herdliska and Mark Krall, and the details of a contract were subsequently negotiated.
The one-year employment agreement, effective April 28, includes a provision for a six-month extension if agreed to by both parties. Rasmussen will receive 10 days of vacation and the same health insurance benefits as other city employees. Her salary for the year will be $59,000.
“I felt like we’d be paying that much or more,” Stange said, indicating there wasn’t a lot of room in the current budget for higher wages.
“I think our decision was the right one,” Stange said, noting the city has been running smoothly. “She’s sure done it.”
Sixteen years ago, before the city had hired an administrator, Rasmussen had been employed as city treasurer and city clerk. She was later elected to the city council and then elected mayor.
Stange has expressed interest in replacing Rasmussen as mayor, and the council was expected to make an appointment for the position at a regular meeting May 7.
If appointed, Stange would fill out Rasmussen’s unexpired term, unless city residents petition for a special election within 14 days of the decision.