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No turbulence expected with mayoral transition

Top officials to stay in place at least a year

ROCK FALLS – Sometimes when new mayors take office, shake-ups happen. So far, it doesn’t appear that will be the case in Rock Falls.

After a closed session Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved 1-year employment contracts for its top officials, with the agreements taking effect May 1. Their raises are 2 percent on average, City Clerk and Mayor-elect Bill Wescott said.

Wescott beat Mayor David Blanton April 9 with 75 percent of the vote. He takes office next month.

With the new contracts, the top officials, including City Administrator Robbin Blackert, will stay in place for at least the next year.

“I think we’ll have a smooth transition,” Blackert said.

That’s unlike some other towns. In Morrison, City Administrator Jim Wise’s contract will end May 31. His contract gives the mayor the discretion to extend it a year.

Mayor Roger Drey, a Wise supporter, did not seek re-election. Everett Pannier, who won with 69 percent of the vote, has made no commitment to keep Wise, saying he would seek the input of the City Council before making a decision.

The Rock Falls mayor, Wescott said, has no power to get rid of the administrator or a department head.

“We have contracts with our department heads,” he said. “They are reviewed every year. No one has a multi-year contract.”

The 2 percent increases are in line with what other employees have been getting, Wescott said. For instance, the council on Tuesday approved a new 3-year contract with the union that represents police officers. The union members will get 2 percent increases each year.

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