City administrator search underway

Jefferson City is searching for a new city administrator, and Mayor Eric Struemph is hoping to have a candidate in the position sometime in January.

Nearly a month after firing former City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus, the city’s search for a replacement is well underway. Struemph said the position began being advertised in trade magazines and other publications Sept. 25 and applications will be accepted through Nov. 15.

Struemph said he hopes to have the selection committee begin reviewing applications in early December. Late last month, the city announced the makeup of the selection committee, which consists of 10 prominent community members, including one City Council member.

The committee includes: 3rd Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner; United Way President Ann Bax; Stephanie Bell; Nimrod Chapel Jr.; Cole County Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger; Dan Klindt, a former city council member; Brian Mitchell, superintendent of Jefferson City Public Schools; Lincoln University President Kevin Rome; Joe Scheppers, chair of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce; and John Pelzer, owner of Busch’s Florist.

Struemph said he had no concerns about the size of the committee and does not believe it will slow down the process.

“They have already been talking about these different dates,” Struemph said. “This will be a big time commitment.”

He said he wanted the committee to be made up of representatives of prominent community organizations and entities, which he believes has been accomplished.

The committee will begin the interview process in early December, Struemph said, with the aim of making a final decision in January.

City attorney Drew Hilpert has been serving as interim city administrator, which Struemph said is “open-ended,” meaning there is no set limit to how long Hilpert could serve in the interim.

“He has really been a trouper so far,” Struemph said. “I appreciate all the work that he’s doing and so far he’s doing an excellent job.”

Struemph also noted Hilpert has been granted another extension on a requirement to live within city limits or within a 15-mile radius of city limits. As city attorney, Hilpert is required by the city code to live within 15 miles of city limits. When Hilpert was named city attorney in April 2012, he was given six months to move from his home in Columbia, which has not been done.

Hilpert, whose home has been listed since April 2012, has said he is having trouble selling his home and continued to receive six month extensions on the residency requirement. In late August, Hilpert said his extension gave him until October to move to the Jefferson City area and he noted he likely would rent a temporary residence if his house still had not sold.

Struemph said the council opted to give him another extension as long as he is trying to sell his home.

“I know they are actively trying to sell their house,” Struemph said.

Hilpert said the extension will last for as long as he is making a good-faith effort to sell his home.

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