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City administrator abruptly resigns after closed session meeting

Council to weigh options on replacement

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:36 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:41 a.m. CST
(File Photo)
Former Prairie City City Administrator Lori Martin, left, is sworn in last year as city clerk by mayor Chad Alleger. Martin abruptly resigned from her pose May 10 after a closed session meeting with city council. Due to Iowa Code's closed meeting rules, the council and mayor have not released the reason for her resignation.

Prairie City’s City Administrator Lori Martin abruptly resigned May 10 following a nearly two-hour closed session meeting. She left the post effective immediately.

Martin was not able to be reached for comment before presstime Tuesday, but the administrator had given no indication publicly she was planning to terminate her employment with the city.

Due to Iowa Code’s rules on closed session meetings, Prairie City Mayor Chad Alleger said during a phone interview May 11 he could not disclose the reason for Martin’s departure, however, he did confirm there were no ethics issues or employment contract violations during Martin’s tenure with Prairie City.

According to City Clerk Cindy Cane, Martin received a $5,000 severance, with no vacation hours or benefits paid out. The council accepted her resignation in a unanimous vote after returning to open session.

Alleger said he has been in contact with the Iowa League of Cities to acquire a list of administrators who could assist Prairie City staff on a part-time basis during the transition.

Martin was employed with Prairie City for little more than a year before her resignation. She was appointed to the role of administrator by the city council in a 4-1 vote in August 2016, to replace the departing former administrator Manny Toribio. 

The 56-year-old came to Prairie City from State Center in March 2016, as city clerk, after 24-year city veteran Nancy Earles left to take the clerk’s position in her hometown of Colfax.

When Toribio left, the city council debated whether to fill the position, spread the duties among city staff or find another alternative. It ultimately moved to promote Martin.

The council’s administration team, consisting of Alleger, council members Dan Downey and Andrea Engle, was scheduled to meet Tuesday to edit language in the administrator job description. That committee will make a recommendation to the full council on a course of action.

But after the most recent city hall shakeup and with a staff comprised of relatively new personnel, Alleger said he will urge the council to fill the job. Kane, who took over as clerk for Martin, has been in the role since November.

“At this time my recommendation is to look to replace the position,” he said. “There’s not enough city experience in city hall currently to leave the position open.”

The mayor went on to say he expects the job to be posted to the city website and to the Iowa League of Cities jobs boards by Wednesday.

In the meantime, city hall is directing Prairie City residents to Kane, Alleger or assistant city clerk Emily Voller with any questions or concerns regarding city services.

Contact Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@myprairiecitynews.com

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