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Candidates for Mason City Administrator announced



This news story was published on February 2, 2018.
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MASON CITY – The City of Mason City is considering five candidates for the City Administrator position that has been vacant since October, 2017. City Finance Director Kevin Jacobson is currently serving as Mason City’s Interim City Administrator. The candidates will be in Mason City for the interview process on February 16 and 17.

Mason City

There will be a public community reception for the five candidates on Friday, February 16 from 5-7 pm in the Salsbury Room of the MacNider Art Museum located at 303 2nd Street SE in Mason City. This public reception will give the community members an opportunity to meet the candidates for the position of City Administrator.

Mark A. Jackson of Mark A. Jackson Consulting and Brent Hinson of Hinson Consulting, LLC, were selected to conduct the City Administrator search. Their recruitment and vetting process produced an impressive field of candidates with the City receiving 30 applications from candidates in 12 states.

The candidates are:

Joseph Helfenberger has 32 years of city administration experience and most recently served as the City Manager for the city of St. Cloud, Florida from 2015-2017. He previously served as City Administrator for the city of Ottumwa, Iowa, and Village Administrator for the cities of Hobart, Pulaski, North Fond du Lac, and Necedah, Wisconsin. Helfenberger earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration and bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin. AroundOsceola.com: “He had not been free of controversy over the last month. At the two prior St. Cloud meetings, Councilman Donny Shroyer made motions to fire Helfenberger, which did not pass, for his lack of leadership and spending city funds to cover tax payments without notifying the council first.”

Randy Lansing has 23 years of city administration experience and currently serves as the City Manager for the city of Garner, Iowa, a position he has held since 2011. He previously served as City Administrator for the cities of Cascade, and East Dubuque, Iowa. Lansing earned a master’s degree in public policy and bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Iowa, and is a member of the Iowa City/County Managers Association.

Cole O’Donnell has 23 years of city administration experience and most recently served as the City Manager for the City of Dixon, Illinois from 2016-2017. He previously served as City Administrator for the cities of East Moline, Illinois, Algona, Iowa, and Renville, Minnesota. O’Donnell earned a master’s degree in public administration and bachelor’s degree in political science from Iowa State University, and is an ICMA credentialed manager. SaukValley.com: “The City Council fired the city manager in a split vote Monday, and the three city councilmen who ousted him did not speak publicly on their decision. City Manager Cole O’Donnell left the office July 26 on a paid leave, and ties were officially cut after a majority of the council voted to terminate his contract and approve a severance package that includes paying him 5 months salary, about $53,542, along with 5 months of health benefits.”

Jeffrey Pederson has over 32 years of city administration experience and most recently served as the City Manager for the city of Paducah, Kentucky from 2010-2018. He previously served as City Administrator for the cities of Grand Island, Nebraska, Dodge City, Kansas, Vermillion, South Dakota, Onawa and Eagle Grove, Iowa. Pederson earned a master’s degree in public administration and bachelor of science degree from the University of South Dakota.

Al Roder has 21 years of city and county administration experience and currently serves as the City Manager for the city of Independence, Iowa, a position he has held since 2014. He previously served as County Administrator for Harper County, Kansas and Becker County, Minnesota, and City Administrator for the cities of Norfolk, Nebraska, Northfield, Minnesota and Denison, Iowa. Roder earned a master’s degree in public administration from University of Nebraska and bachelor’s degree in business administration from Moorhead State University, and is an ICMA credentialed manager.

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27 Responses to Candidates for Mason City Administrator announced

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Is there some reason that more press is not being given to these City administrator finalists? The mayor seems to believe these are outstanding candidates.

    1. O’donnell. Fired from Dixon, IL on a 3-2 vote, but one of the dissenting members voted against paying him any severance or it would have been 4-1. He has also been a finalist in 9 other communities recently. He rubbed council members and staff the wrong way according to news articles. He was fired in less than 18 months.
    2. Pederson. Let go with a $225,000 severance in Kentucky. In the last 13 years he has had 3 different positions. He was also let go in Dodge City Kansas after 2 years. Appears to be in late 50’s or early 60’s, so probably more interested in retirement and perhaps a 3rd severance to set him up.
    3. Roder. Has declared personal bankruptcy and has taken both Northfield and Norfolk for severance packages. Only been in Independence for a short time and has been finalist in other communities. Was recently passed over in Spencer. He also reportedly had problems in Denison.
    4. Guy that just got let go in Florida was also asked to leave Ottumwa after what the newspaper described as a tumultuous relationship with Council and media. So, he has been let go from his last 2 jobs.
    5. Lansing. Simply would be in way over his head.
    Come on Mason City and NIT. Let’s not let this happen. The rest of the media has not stepped up in the public interest and called attention to the fact that these are people who have been discarded by other communities and our Mayor calls them outstanding. Really have to question his thinking.

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Am I the only one who sees a severance package being the most important thing to 4 out of these 5? Roder got one in 2 places. Pederson can live off his last one forever.

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Pederson applied for Pat McGarvey’s job in Austin years ago and was passed over.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Start over dummies. Gaaawd Arent you Prople sick of yourselves….Stupid keeps growing in this town. Laugh Of the Country!!!!

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Great job by Bill Schickel. Way to bring in the best. What is shocking is not that 1 has been in turmoil, but 4 out of 5. Jackson and Hinson are some experts. Surprised Matt is silent on this topic.

      • Larry Reply Report comment

        February 3, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        Matt should apply. He lost his last real job too as well as two elections. He’d fit right into this can of mixed nuts.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Tricia Sandahl commented that one of the men who was fired was the first City Administrator in that City. Somehow this is to mitigate his firing. I read the article from Dixon and it would have been a 4-1 vote to fire him except one Council member didn’t want to pay him any severance.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I got to say I thought NIT would do a strong story on this one. Maybe it’s coming? Who selected these 5? Perry from City HR described them as “impressive”? Where is Mayor Bill, this was his process and $6600 has been spent on it? Was Thoma involved, he is clicking like on comments about these guys? I googled this guy from Dixon and he has been a finalist candidate in about a dozen towns in recent years. The guy from Florida who was forced out for difficulties had a bad run in Ottumwa. Roder was passed over in many other rows as well, not surprising. Guy from Garner would be way out of his league. Easy solution is to extend the deadline. Who would go to Bull’s meet and greet for this group?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2018 at 10:12 am

      I believe Lansing has the experience and qualifications but the point is why does the council insult the intelligence of the citizens with this hokey selection process? You would be better off saving $6000 and not embarrassing the search companies although they did that to themselves, or the other candidates. This city’s elected officials continue to bury themselves in scrutiny.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2018 at 3:33 am

    what it ends up to meaning is we are gunna get another city(s) throw away. once had a department head tell me that anyone getting hired is either on their way up or on way down.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Is this the same Brent Hinson, former Garner city administrator? Gee, do you think the fix is in?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      I wouldn’t pay Hinson for advice on which toilet paper to purchase. You MC folks have been had.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 2, 2018 at 10:12 pm

        It is him. How could they have forwarded 5 candidates such as these? I doubt they will be getting any more work. My advise is to table this for the time being. Jacobson is doing fine. Raise the salary and approach 2 or 3 high quality candidates and court them to come. You really have to believe that Bill Schickel is complicit in this one. Anyone can get in a bad spot, but these guys have multiple cases. I certainly wouldn’t hire them to manage my family’s money.

  9. bodacious Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Just shows the quality of candidate who want to come to Mason City and deal with morons like you guys. Perhaps if the gang of 5 would get together they could bring in a good candidate. I am sure they know a lot of great possibilities.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Oh, and they hired a search firm for this. How about pick up the phone and call the guy 5 miles away in Clear Lake?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 2, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Some people have commented that it’s a tough job and councils change and then make changes. The issue is that several of these guys have has problems in MULTIPLE locations, not just one. The guy from Florida resigned under pressure there, as well as Ottumwa. I see Tom Thoma is backing these candidates. He has liked comments on the globe story supporting them.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Unfortunately, you are exactly right. These are the caliber of applicants you will get in Mason City because no qualified person in their right mind would want to commit career suicide by working in this town as a city administrator where your reputation will be slandered by bitter geriatrics and a local tabloid that fronts itself as a ‘news’ source. Recent high profile antics around Prestage, CES Energy, Target Distribution, River City Renaissance make it real easy for anyone to do a simple google search about our town and quickly learn what a circus freak show the political situation is in this town.

  10. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Great group. Roder was involved in a criminal investigation and left his last two jobs under duress. It also says he took out bankruptcy. That should qualify him to manage our money. HR director said these were “impressive” people.

  11. Comment Reader Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Shame on you Eric. That is one sic comment.

  12. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Mason City doesn’t need a City Administrator!

    Usa a “Full time Mayor” with a salary equal that of an City Administrator would draw qualified candidates.

    The Mayor would then pick his own Department Heads and serve at the will of the Mayor only. New Mayor, new Department Heads if the incoming Mayor so chooses.

    The citizens get more accountability and better service from the City Departments.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      Ahhhh, the benevolent dictator…..

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 4, 2018 at 8:21 am

        Not if that mayor is Bill Schickle. He is not qualified.

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hard to find a public servant with a clean criminal record – if you do he/she probably has not been found out at the time. Lot’s of smart people could handle this job better than some crony – look at Trump – first and best and NEVER a politician or elected official as they are highly over rated and known to take bribes – I believe 1 course in politically science is lieing the other is cash money laundering.

  14. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    3 of the 5 are not currently employed

  15. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    NIT get the names of the people that selected his group. They need to be gel accountable. This is a joke.

  16. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Human Resources guy says “impressive list”. They have all been fired or resigned except for Garner guy

  17. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    All but he guy in garner have been fired; embroiled in controversy; or asked to leave from multiple positions. Guy from Florida last 1 1/2 years after resigning under pressure in ottumwa. Roder was a lighting rod in Northfield and Nebraska. Dixon guy fired for low employee moral.