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City questioned Ortgiesen’s job duties

Looked at city administrator position before his resignation

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

DIXON – City commissioners questioned the job description of former Public Works Director and City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen, just 2 months before it was revealed he had used a city credit card for personal items.

And even before his resignation, City Council members were considering an administrator position.

Dixon City Council released Monday the minutes of six closed sessions, including one on Feb. 4 when Commissioners Dennis Considine and David Blackburn asked for a review of Ortgiesen’s job duties.

Considine said Ortgiesen’s job description needed to “be reviewed and defined,” according to the minutes.

Ortgiesen was responsible for coordinating the city’s public works efforts, human resources, and engineering projects, among other tasks.

He resigned April 16 and paid back $8,630.83 in personal expenses he had charged to the city, plus 5 percent interest.

Mayor Jim Burke said, in the Feb. 4 closed session, that the governmental task force had just been appointed to review all types of government forms and the council could possibly change Ortgiesen’s job description.

Rob LeSage, the city’s attorney, said there was no problem with having overlaying job descriptions in a commission form of government.

“We all felt there was too much on his plate, but there wasn’t much discussion about it,” Burke said. “There was some talk about possibly bringing in a city administrator, or if Shawn could do it, or how that would work out.”

No further discussions took place from there, Burke said Monday, but an administrator post was on the radar.

Closed-session minutes from Oct. 17, 2011, Oct. 15, 2012, and Feb. 19, April 1 and April 29 of this year were also released. Those minutes make references mostly to union contract negotiations and employee salaries.

The City Council decided to keep 16 closed-session minutes confidential because of ongoing pending litigation or discussion of personnel matters, LeSage said. The state’s Open Meetings Act requires government bodies to periodically review the minutes of closed meetings to determine whether secrecy is still warranted.

Also Monday, Police Chief Danny Langloss said the police department, with help from the school district, had bought a speed trailer. It will be used to monitor motorists’ speeds in school zones and common speeding areas. It doesn’t have a camera to take pictures, so speeding tickets will not be written from it.

It’s main purpose will be to create awareness, Langloss said.

Additionally, a solution is sought for water main leaks on Palmyra Street near the Dixon Park District office, said Rusty Cox, water department superintendent. There have been 10 leaks in the past year – seven since January and three since Labor Day weekend.

The problem is getting worse, and Commissioner Colleen Brechon warned the council that it needs to be fixed.

Finally, the council approved the construction of a 150-foot radio tower to a booster station on North Brinton Avenue for $78,141 with Allstate Tower Service in Kentucky. The city’s police will use the tower, and it will go out to bid for cellular companies’ use, providing revenue to the city, Cox said.

The tower will replace an 80-foot tower that was destroyed in a storm. The city collected $33,000 in insurance from it, Cox said.

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