Peosta begins search for new city administrator

PEOSTA, Iowa — Peosta city leaders have hired a consulting firm to help find their next city administrator.

City Council members this week unanimously approved a contract with Callahan Municipal Consultants to start a search for the person who will replace Whitney Baethke, who recently announced she is moving to the Des Moines area.

“Peosta’s extremely dynamic character and growth trajectory provided invaluable experiences that I will carry with me the rest of my personal and professional life,” Baethke wrote in an email to the Telegraph Herald after the meeting. “I am most proud to be a member of the most incredible team, staff, consultants, elected officials (and) volunteers. They are the singular reason for Peosta’s success and emergence as a community of choice.”

The city will pay $10,800 for the firm’s services. Patrick Callahan, who owns the firm, said he will begin advertising for the position later this week in hopes of hiring a new city administrator by May or June.

City leaders worked with Callahan and his firm about two years ago when they were looking for their first city administrator, a process that led them to hire Baethke in November 2018. In her role, Baethke has helped the city construct a new wastewater treatment plant and is currently in the midst of assisting with a comprehensive plan that will include efforts to add new parks and trails throughout Peosta.

“Whitney has been a fantastic resource for the city,” said City Council Member John Kraft, who was on the council when she was hired. Kraft was not present at the meeting but spoke to the TH afterward. “She has done a lot of great things for us. I would say the biggest thing she brought to the city was her ability to help the city look to the future and plan and add structure to our staff.”

Council Member Karen Lyons, who was also on the council when Baethke was hired, commended Baethke for her work.

“She took on a lot of challenges and she did well,” Lyons said.

The salary range for the new city administrator will be $65,000 to $110,000, based on pay for similar positions in comparable cities. Council members will meet with Callahan on April 13 to review applications and narrow down the pool of candidates before holding virtual interviews April 20.

Also this week, council members:

unanimously approved a $977,510 bid from Boomerang Corp. for the first phase of construction to replace the lift station near U.S. 20 that is currently operating over capacity.

set a public hearing for April 13 to consider awarding a bid for the second part of the life station project, which will include adding a gravity sewer and replacing part of Enterprise Drive. That portion of the project is estimated to cost $1.69 million.