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Evaluation of city administrator presented in closed session

‘We are not without concerns’

The Jefferson City Council is in the process of discussing the performance of one particular employee. The City Council met in a closed session Tuesday for personnel, under two subsections: one for the “hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body” and one for “Individually identifiable personnel records, performance ratings or records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment.”

No action was taken in the meeting, meaning the city is not required to release anything to the public. But council members and Mayor Eric Struemph acknowledged that Struemph had used the closed session to discuss his evaluation of City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Mihalevich said Struemph presented his annual evaluation of Nickolaus at the closed session meeting and there are some issues to be dealt with.

“We are not without concerns,” Mihalevich said. First Ward Councilman Rick Prather also said as a council, there are concerns that need to be addressed. No council member would specify as to what those concerns are or what was contained in the evaluation. According to the City Charter, “the mayor shall annually review the performance of the city administrator and report to the council concerning the same.”

Gail Strope, human resources director, said city employees are reviewed annually, with department directors being reviewed by the city administrator and the mayor reviewing the city administrator. Strope said the evaluations are conducted using a form, which is the same form used for reviewing all department directors and the city administrator.

“Every department has things like customer focus, integrity, trust, flexibility, safety ... those things fall within every department,” Strope said.

When asked Friday about the closed session, Struemph said: “I don’t have anything to say at this point in time.”

Later, Struemph added that reviewing any employee is an important part of a manager’s or mayor’s duties.

“It’s a responsibility I take very strongly,” Struemph said. “I look forward to continuing this process on Monday night.”

The council is scheduled to go into closed session again Monday for personnel and contract negotiations.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Carrie Carroll said it was the routine yearly evaluation to look at Nickolaus’ performance and make recommendations on how he should be performing his job duties. Carroll said she looks forward to continuing an open dialogue and the changes the council would like to see.

“In a way the city administrator has like 10 bosses, so this gives us a chance for all of us to look at his performance,” Carroll said. “Overall, I’m satisfied with this process and with Nathan’s performance.”

Carroll said her understanding after Tuesday’s closed session was for council members to submit their concerns with the city administrator to city staff for future discussion.

Nickolaus was given an opportunity to comment on his evaluation and the closed session Tuesday for this story, but did not return calls or emails sent last week.

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