DIXON – The city's last two human resources officials left in scandals, so the city is without much expertise in that area.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to hire a consulting firm, Davenport, Iowa-based P.J. Greufe & Associates, to help with human resources issues. It had previously done an audit of city personnel policies.
For a long time, former Comptroller Rita Crundwell handled human resources. When she was arrested last year for stealing nearly $54 million over a couple of decades, the city assigned personnel duties to City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen. His salary increased from $110,000 to $118,000 as a result.
In the spring, however, Ortgiesen resigned after city officials found he had used his city credit card for personal expenses.
At Tuesday's council meeting, Police Chief Danny Langloss, the council's "special assistant," said the city could use help with human resources matters.
"One of the things we found was a lack of standardization across city departments," Langloss said. "The human resources processes appear to be fragmented across the city."
The firm will charge the city $1,500 a month, totaling $18,000 a year.
That's lower than the city's other options, Langloss said. Hiring an experienced human resources director would cost $70,000 to $80,000 a year, while someone newer to the profession would require about $40,000 annually, he said.
Mayor Jim Burke said hiring a consultant was a "prudent approach." He said he had met Paul Greufe of the consulting firm.
"There's no question that he knows what he is doing," the mayor said.
Commissioner Jeff Kuhn agreed.
"This is one more step moving forward," he said. "I think he'll do a good job."
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Dennis Considine reminded residents that the city has building and zoning regulations.
"You can't park your car in your front yard," he said. "There are people coming in who are complaining that we aren't keeping the city neat and tidy."
Enforcing the regulations, Considine said, is how the city keeps a good appearance.