DIXON – Just days after the resignation of the city engineer over the latest city hall scandal, Mayor James Burke today announced the city would move toward hiring a professional administrator.
Burke said the City Council plans next week to appoint Police Chief Danny Langloss as a special assistant to the council, with the intention of hiring a professional city administrator within the next 3 to 6 months.
As a special assistant, Langloss will fill the role of Shawn Ortgiesen, former public works and personnel director, who resigned Tuesday after it was revealed he had used a city-issued credit card for personal use.
Also, Langloss will help to direct the city council's search for a city administrator. Once one is hired, the special assistant post will expire.
Langloss will not be paid any extra for the temporary role, nor will he be an applicant for the city administrator job, he said.
Langloss will keep his role as police chief while serving as special assistant and will give up day-to-day duties to Police Lt. Brad Sibley, who will be named acting assistant police chief.
"We have the steps in place with the leadership in command at the department to handle the day-to-day," Langloss said. "Obviously, I still will handle the major events, like a homicide, or major personnel item."
Mayor Jim Burke said Langloss' appointment is temporary, but one that needed to be made urgently.
Burke said the work of a governmental task force charged with evaluating the city's form of government will not be in vain. Their first meeting is scheduled May 1.
"We needed someone who can step in immediately," said Burke, noting the idea has unanimous support from the City Council. "[Langloss] has shown good leadership skills and does a great job of organizing people. We thought he would be the perfect guy to bridge the gap here.
" ... Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of holding off and waiting for the task force. We have to start this process now."
Some of Langloss' new duties will include heading public works department meetings, managing city personnel, participating in budget workshops, facilitating bids for projects, and organizing the city's strategic plan, among other things.
Langloss said his experience as police chief for the past 5 years will translate into the temporary post. As police chief, he dealt with balancing budgets, managing personnel and organizing projects.
The city has no plans to hire an engineer to fill Ortgiesen's other former position. Burke said the city will work with two engineering firms in Dixon for those services
A candidate from outside the city was not selected as a temporary special assistant, Burke said, because that would have increased the expense and prolonged the process of taking action.
Langloss will work with the city council and city's attorneys to draft a job description for the city administrator. Also, a job description for the special assistant position is expected to be finalized next week.
Langloss said other local governments will be examined to help the City Council decide what to look for in a city administrator. Burke said a knowledge of financial oversight will be a necessity.
Uncertainty about the form of government that will be recommended by the task force, and the possibility that a citizen petition will make the issue a referendum in the November 2014 election, will require a flexible candidate be found, Langloss said.
"We want them to be able to serve in any form of government," Langloss said. "We're not picking a form of government by looking for a city administrator. We want them to be experienced enough to be able to fill a city manager's role if that is the direction we move in."
A special meeting will be scheduled next week, either Wednesday or Thursday evening, to officially appoint Langloss.
"We're not looking to make this a long-and-drawn out process," Langloss said. "We want to work ASAP to put good practices in place, but we want to do it right."