by Ivan Foley
It appears Keith Moody’s time at city hall in Platte City will last at least 30 days longer than originally agreed.
An offer to extend the current working arrangement with the fired city administrator is expected to be on the agenda when the board of aldermen meet next Tuesday evening.
“There will probably be a proposal on the agenda for a one-time, 30-day extension,” Frank Offutt, Platte City mayor, told The Landmark this week.
Moody was fired in January, but under a “separation agreement” was allowed to continue working in the post until 30 days after a replacement is hired or the end of July, whichever comes first.
No replacement has been hired and the end of July is now less than 30 days away. Offutt said city officials want to have Moody around to assist with budget preparation for the next fiscal year.
“August is a critical month in the budget process. It’s a key month in pulling all the numbers together,” Offutt remarked.
If budget preparation time weren’t upon them, Offutt indicated the extension may not have been offered.
“Otherwise (the presence of a city administrator) might not be as critical, but at this particular point it is seen as critical by the board,” Offutt said Monday.
The proposed extension, which Moody is reportedly willing to accept if the board votes to offer it on Tuesday, would extend Moody’s time with the city through the end of August.
Moody’s firing came at the hands of a previous board of aldermen. Two of the four aldermen who voted for his ouster are no longer on the board. The spots of former aldermen Aaron Jung and Kenneth Brown are now held by Debbie Kirkpatrick and Tony Paolillo.
Of the aldermen still on the board who were involved in the January vote to fire Moody, Andy Stanton and Ron Stone voted in favor of his dismissal while Todd Sloan and Marsha Clark were opposed to the action.
Moody’s firing, exclusively reported in the Jan. 23 issue of The Landmark, took place during a closed session involving his annual performance evaluation. A few days later, aldermen negotiated a severance package that spelled out terms of the previously mentioned separation agreement.
Per the agreement, if Moody is still on the job as of July 31, the city must pay him another six months worth of salary and insurance benefits at that time. That’s in addition to continuing to pay him his normal salary while he works in the interim.
Moody’s annual salary is just shy of $73,000, so the six month payment at the end of his stay will be roughly $36,500.
During his 13 years in Platte City, Moody had drawn the wrath of some business owners and residents for perceived selective enforcement of certain policies and codes, and was criticized for a perceived lack of people skills.
His supporters praised his ability to work with finances and his overall budgeting skills.
The terms of his severance package were approved on a 5-1 vote by the board, with only Stanton voting against.
“I was dead set against this agreement,” Stanton said at the time. “It could have been negotiated down some. We didn’t get anything besides the fact he cannot get unemployment benefits and he can’t reapply for employment with the city for 12 months.”
The city later, on a split vote, voted to hire the firm known as Organization Consultants, headed by Bob Saunders of Liberty, to guide them in the search for Moody’s replacement. Saunders is charging the city $11,000 for his services. Saunders recently accepted a deal with the city of Parkville to assist that town with its search for a new administrator, with his fee to Parkville being $9,500.
As exclusively reported in the June 11 issue of The Landmark, Platte City recently offered its position to Joe Johnson of David City, Neb., offering him a package amounting to $75,000 per year. Johnson contemplated the offer over a weekend before calling the city to say he would decline, reportedly indicating the money wasn’t satisfactory. He is making $65,000 in his post at David City.
The latest interview of a candidate took place this past Sunday, Offutt said. Another interview is on the horizon, the mayor indicated.