by Alan McArthur
Platte City will have a new city administrator beginning Sept. 1. The board of aldermen voted 6-0 on Tuesday night to hire Jason Metten, current city administrator for Hawarden, Iowa.
Metten accepted the position with an annual salary of $75,000, which is more than the nearly $69,000 he was making at his previous job. Keith Moody, current city administrator for Platte City, is making around $73,000.
The new city administrator will also receive an automobile allowance of $250 per month and be reimbursed up to $3,000 for moving expenses to the Platte City area.
Another part of his contract also has a stipulation that the city administrator cannot be terminated during a 120-day period immediately following a municipal election.
According to Andy Stanton, alderman, the 120-day stipulation was included because Metten was somewhat worried that the board had fired Keith Moody, current city administrator, while all of the budget numbers still looked good.
Todd Sloan, board president, said Metten is the best candidate they have found for the city administrator position.
“The city has been on a long journey with twists and turns which has ultimately provided the best candidate for the job,” said Sloan. “Jason exhibited a strong knowledge of Platte City as well as city government in general.”
According to Metten, he has held many positions at Hawarden and is familiar with the different tasks each has to do.
“I've really enjoyed working in many different capacities in Hawarden,” said Metten. “I have served as administrator, clerk, telecommunications director and economic developer among other titles. I know that the diverse experiences I have had in Hawarden will serve me well in Platte City.”
Metten graduated from the University of Iowa in 1999 with a communications degree, and then completed a master’s in public administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. During his six years in the Kansas City metro area, Metten worked in the code compliance division of the City of Independence's Health Department and as a code enforcement officer in Gladstone.
Platte City Mayor Frank Offutt said he supports the hire.
“Jason is going to be a good fit in Platte City,” said Offutt. “He clearly possesses the necessary knowledge and experience and his youthful enthusiasm really made him stand out from the candidates considered.”
“I am very much looking forward to returning to the area,” said Metten. “I have always known Platte City to be a smart, progressive city. I'm really excited about the position, and I'm looking forward to working with the mayor and the board of aldermen to continue to move the city ahead.”
Hawarden is located in Northwest Iowa along the border with South Dakota and has a population of roughly 2,600 people. Metten currently lives in Hawarden with his wife and two children.
The city had previously offered the job to Joe Johnson from David City, Neb., but he turned it down, reportedly based on money. The city had made an offer to Johnson of nearly $75,000 for the position. Johnson had a salary of $65,000 as city administrator for David City.
Last week, the board voted to extend the contract for Moody until Sunday, Aug. 31 to allow Moody to continue working on the city's budget. Metten will begin work on Monday, Sept. 1 for Platte City.
According to Stanton, the board is not considering extending Moody's contract again to allow for more overlap time.
“We hope Jason can come in a few days early to get his feet wet,” said Stanton.
On July 8, the board approved increases in the allowed salary for several city positions. One such position was the city administrator.
Previously the top salary available to be paid to a city administrator was $75,400, but the board voted to increase that amount to $80,496.
The board had hired Organization Consultants, which is run by Bob Saunders of Liberty, to assist the city in finding a new administrator. Organization Consultants is charging the city $11,000 for the service.