Hilpert named interim city administrator

City Attorney Drew Hilpert has been named interim city administrator after the council fired Nathan Nickolaus on Monday.

It’s a familiar move by the Jefferson City Council.

Hilpert was selected to take the interim city administrator position in a unanimous vote of the council in closed session Monday, though he will not be allowed to take the position full-time.

The move to promote Hilpert on the interim basis is not unlike a move made more than two years ago, when the council voted to fire former City Administrator Steve Rasmussen and promote Nickolaus, who was the city attorney, to the interim position.

Hilpert said he was surprised at the actions taken Monday and noted he was asked about the position Monday night, while he was out of town at a conference.

Mayor Eric Struemph said Hilpert was consulted on the decision after the closed session, which had included a vote to move Hilpert into the interim position.

Struemph said Hilpert was the best person to take on the interim job as he has a working knowledge of how the council operates and is familiar with large city projects on the horizon. Hilpert also has been the main staff member involved in the city’s ongoing quest for a conference center.

“He’s got a strong head on his shoulders,” Struemph said. “I just felt that he would be a good person for that job.”

Hilpert will receive a 10 percent raise for taking on the interim position. As city attorney, Hilpert earns a salary of $95,000. Hilpert will maintain his city attorney responsibilities and title during the interim position, though Jeremy Cover, assistant city attorney, likely will help take on some of the normal tasks.

As for a permanent replacement, Struemph said the council will look at the job description for the city administrator during public session Monday night and then begin an in-house national search for Nickolaus’ replacement.

Struemph said he will look for an experienced candidate who “can hit the ground running” and build relationships with agencies and groups in Jefferson City that are needed to move forward.

Correction: The original version of this article reported the Council would look at the job description for the city administrator in closed session on Monday. Hilpert clarified Wednesday that the discussion would take place in open session.

Today's related stories:

Mayor cites experience, unreached goals in firing of city administrator

Council discusses interim positions at City Hall

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