DIXON – Shortly after being named a special assistant to the City Council on Thursday, Police Chief Danny Langloss made his first recommendations to conduct a human resources audit and postpone strategic planning sessions.
Commissioners approved an ordinance unanimously assigning temporary duties to Langloss for 6 months, or until a city administrator is hired. They also supported his recommendations.
“We cannot just strive for the accepted levels anymore; we have to achieve excellence,” Langloss told the City Council and residents in attendance for the special meeting.
Langloss, who will hand over day-to-day police department operations to Police Lt. Brad Sibley, will fill in for former public works and personnel director Shawn Ortgiesen, who resigned after it was revealed he used city-issued credit cards for personal use.
He will receive no additional pay, and still will maintain his position as police chief, saying he will remain involved in decision making with the department.
His new duties outlined in the ordinance include: general administration; assessment of the city engineer position also formerly held by Ortgiesen; assessment of the human resources position; union negotiations; organizing the city’s strategic planning; helping in the search for a city administrator; and any other duties assigned to him by Mayor Jim Burke or the City Council.
Commissioner Colleen Brechon said Langloss will have “some damaged shoes to fill and repair,” but said his quality as a progressive person and his open-door policy to citizens will serve him well.
Langloss said Thursday his first order of business will be to bring in an interim human resources director to conduct an audit of the city’s personnel policies. He said the process could take about a month.
A committee of city employees, which included Finance Director Paula Meyer, concluded the city’s personnel policies are out-of-date, such as its hiring practices, its compliance with labor laws, and its benefits.
Langloss said the city could save about $200,000 in the cost of health care.
The police chief said nobody at City Hall is qualified to handle the task of an audit, listing the next steps as either hiring an outside firm, going to a governmental temporary agency, or hiring an interim human resources director.
“Our committee will do some further research and determine what’s the best decision and make our recommendation,” Langloss said. “We need a professional to handle the task.”
Also, Langloss suggested the strategic planning and leadership development sessions be postponed until a full-time city administrator is hired. The strategic planning session is meant for the City Council and city employees to take a holistic look at the city and develop short- and long-term goals.
Langloss said it would be best to include the new administrator in the process, and the City Council agreed.
“We have a full plate,” said Commissioner Jeff Kuhn. “We have plenty [of] other things to do right now.”
While union negotiations are listed as one of the duties given to Langloss on Thursday, he said his role as police chief will not conflict with those negotiations, which include talks with the police union.
“I’m just one part of that team,” he said. “I was definitely a part of that team as a chief, too. Negotiations are done by the City Council, and they have hired an experienced negotiator to help them handle those. I have no decision-making powers; that lies with the City Council.”
Jill Polivka, was one of three residents who addressed the City Council on Thursday, asked City Council members to make better decisions moving forward, while questioning their promotion of Ortgiesen and lack of a credit card policy.
“Dixon’s government is in need of change,” said Dixon resident Carol Fisher. “Maybe the form is fine, but the people sitting on it are not. I suggest you resign, and until then, your actions will not receive the support and confidence of taxpayers.”