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Keokuk’s Aaron Burnett to be new City Administrator in Mason City


This news story was published on April 9, 2018.
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City Administrator Aaron Burnett

MASON CITY – The current City Administrator in Keokuk, Iowa – Aaron Burnett – will be hired in Mason City for the same position.

Sources tell NIT that hiring will be announced later Monday.

“He’s an honest guy,” our source says.

Eerily similar to Mason City, Keokuk’s City government is led by Keokuk’s mayor and city council and employ’s a City Administrator, Keokuk’s city web site explains. City leaders work closely with the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce and Keokuk Economic Development Corporation, as well, similar to the process in Mason City with the Mason City Chamber and North Iowa Corridor.

Burnett describes himself on his LinkedIn page as “A knowledgeable government professional with over 12 years of combined local government executive level and federal legislative experience. An International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager and Master of Public Administration graduate whose blend of experience and education facilitates the effective exercise of governance at all levels. This effective leadership has produced progressive projects and policies which earned the Iowa City/County Management Association’s City Manager of the Year Award for 2017.”

He says he has been Keokuk City Administrator for 2 and a half years.  Keokuk is a Southeast Iowa community of just under 11,000.  Prior to that, he was City Administrator in Humboldt, Iowa between 2010 and 2015. His resume also lists jobs with Republican legislators Tom Latham and Jim Tussle. He is a University of Iowa graduate in 2005.

NIT will update this story after the city makes its official announcement later today.

PRESS RELEASE FROM CITY HALL LATER MONDAY AFTERNOON:

MASON CITY—Mason City has reached preliminary agreement with Aaron Burnett to become the city’s new city administrator, Mayor Bill Schickel said today.

Burnett is currently the city administrator in Keokuk, Iowa, where he has served since 2015. Prior to serving in Keokuk, Burnett was city administrator in Humboldt for five years.

He received the Iowa City/County Management Association (IACMA) Manager of the Year Award in 2017.  The award honors chief administrators whose accomplishments and superior work performance represent the best possible application of management principles.

He previously served as a legislative assistant to US Rep. Jim Nussle and as a legislative assistant and regional representative for US Rep. Tom Latham. While in those positions, Burnett helped the community of Mason City receive federal funding.

Burnett has a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in local government from the University of Nebraska and a Bachelors of Arts degree with a political science major and business administration minor from the University of Iowa.

Born in Blue Grass, Iowa, he is married to Leah, who works as both a realtor and a stay-at-home mom for their three children.

Burnett’s nomination for the IACMA award said “Keokuk is starting to turn the tide… Young people, businesses and families are moving back or coming to the city for the first time and finding it to be a good fit for them. His attitude has inspired a greater community-wide effort to promote growth and investment.”

The nomination said Burnett “spearheaded a large effort to demolish vacant and dilapidated buildings while securing new development projects…and refinancing existing debt, saving more than one million dollars.”

Burnett is scheduled to be in Mason City on Thursday, April 12 to attend a special council meeting where his appointment will be voted on. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. at the Mason City Room of the public library.

 

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48 Responses to Keokuk’s Aaron Burnett to be new City Administrator in Mason City

  1. Avatar

    Tom Trandel Reply Report comment

    October 2, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    This is nothing but serious lies. The IACMA is a PAC that can’t even be reached by phone. They were building up this loser with lies for a future political run. The city of Keokuk drastically lost population during his tenure, and is still losing it. Nothing has been built here but an ugly senior housing project on Main Street that remains half full because it was built without even including a green space like a court yard. Only shutins would want to live there. The nimrod doesn’t know the difference between an 1850’s or 1950’s house. He was tearing down the few remaining territorial landmark buildings in town, not dilapidated buildings. He seized control of and illegally chaired and controlled the direction of the cities bogus preservation commission until I filed formal complaints with the Ombudsmans office, among other things. He has major problems understanding what is ethical, moral, or legal. Bought a garbage sinking barge from the city of Davenport without inspecting it. It’s now been scrapped, and he’s cost this poor city over a half million dollars. Think he and others were paid under the table to take the junk off Davenports hands. I’m glad to have personally contributed to running the bum out of here. You were sold a bill of goods Mason City. Give him time and he’ll screw over the taxpayers there too.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    This is one of those times (again) when you can predict the future by looking at the “players” and more importantly “the past”! Not going to be a good outcome considering your fearless leaders and their track record! Bend over again taxpayers!

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    And just how much $$$$ was REALLY spent finding and hiring the youngster (moldable new player) as Lee would call him? Don’t forget to include the contract payoff when the youngster figures out how deep in shit he really is now…..and bails! There will be a consideral payoff…..again thanks taxpayers!

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Wake up taxpayers and citizens of Mason City! Wasn’t this predictable?…. considering “the players”. The raping of tax dollars and thievery continues….and will most certainly get worst unless the citizens revolt and clean house soon!

  5. Avatar

    I want Trout back Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    The big Fish went to Topeka for $190,000 and we are paying $175,000? When state budget cuts hit will he reduce his salary or will we layoff the fire staff?

  6. Avatar

    Will Mason Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    We are paying this guy $175,000 a year. He will be the highest paid Administrator in the State for towns under 40,000 in population. He really parlayed that award for demloting some buildings into a pay day. 2 years in keokuk and we are that sold on his skills and ability??? Not me and I won’t be a fan.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    $175,000!!!! Wow

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Robin, John Lee, and Bill Pickle now have the young “player/puppet” needed to continue raping the public taxpayers and continue paying for their own personal “pet projects”. They will continue to line their pockets with taxpayer monies! These “so-called leaders and friends” continue to be a joke and embarrassment to the citizens of Mason City time after time! The outsiders can see it! Why can’t you? Truly sad that Mason City continues going to hell in a handbasket!…. It truly once was a city to be proud of……..

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Everyday I see Mason City sink deeper to retirement village status. MC doesn’t support MC in any adventure.

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Did any voting board member GO to Keokuk and ask it’s citizens about this young man? With experience being a critical issue with the Downtown fiasco and the town being ‘vacant’., wouldn’t experience be a huge criteria? What he does in his career is his business, BUT he must qualify for such a position. This decision good or bad just seems to been held in secret. Maybe the candidate age and the repercussions.This reminds me of the Pork Plant, hide the details until the last minute THEN spring it on the town when it’s too late. MASON CITY POLITICS.

    • Avatar

      Hugo Boss Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      You’re right. I had hoped Flory in Clear Lake would come over. He would have been a great fit. This person is far too young and does seem to be taking advantage of a desperate mayor and council. Not a good hire for either side.

  11. Avatar

    Another Dwyer Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 7:41 am

    His accomplishments In keokuk are abysmal. 2 years there is hardly preparation for MC. Likewise a total of 7 in the profession? Does he even meet the minimum qualifications? Looks like another fire chief fiasco in the making. Not qualified. Come on Mayor and Council do your job!!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

      There aren’t too many ‘qualified’ city administrators that would be interested in Mason City. All one has to do is google search Mason City and it would become quickly apparent that taking a government job in Mason City is career suicide.

      Negative Nellie’s that turn city hall meetings into circus side shows. A local tabloid that fronts as a ‘news’ source that will slander your character. You’re not going to get the cream of the crop applying for this position. We’ve made the bed, now we lie in it.

  12. Avatar

    Joe Davidson Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Was obviously a choice of great desperation. The guy in clear Lake rebuke them. And the only candidate that they got were horrible. This guy looks far too young and appears to be far too focused on expediting his career as quickly as possible. I think it is a poor hire

  13. Avatar

    Eric Servantz Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I looked up his picture on Facebook. He appears to be very short and combined with his age and an enormous salary he will be set up for failure. No where near experienced enough for MC. Keokuk is the worst city in IA. Many don’t even know it’s in IA.

  14. Avatar

    Sharon Teagan Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Horrible hire. 2 years in Keokuk- wow. Kid is as green as grass. He will be eaten alive here. Seems all he wants is paycheck. Check out the Keokuk articles. Got himself a big raise and now leaving the hem. Once again, poor job mayor and council.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2018 at 7:15 am

      Do you know him personally? I’m betting the answer is no. You probably should give the guy a chance before you form an opinion.

      Mason City needs all the help it can get. If this guy can get this town to grow again or even foster a positive vibe (this is the most negative place I’ve ever lived), he’s worth it very penny

      • Avatar

        Paul Lee Reply Report comment

        April 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

        Have you looked him up? What kind a person negotiates himself a big raise over 3 years and then leave after 6 months, oh – for more money. Shows a real lack of depth as a person. Bad choice. Too young and very limited experience

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          April 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

          You wouldn’t take a better paying job if one was offered to you?!?!?!

  15. Avatar

    Concerned citizen Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 7:04 am

    What happened to all the comments? I read this yesterday and there were over 20. I think this person is way too young and is only focused on the $$$. He obviously took keokuk and then only to bail on them. Questionable character for sure.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2018 at 8:26 am

      It looks like Symonds work again. He hates Matt and will do anything to discredit him.

    • NIT Publisher

      NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      April 10, 2018 at 10:30 am

      John Lee admitted his age was a huge factor in his hire then in the next sentence tried to retract his statement. Sad, really, and very transparent as to how he thinks – not far into the future, just like when he handed over the secret Al Dyer memo to the young boy from KIMT. It is incredible that he didn’t resign over the Dyer fiasco, which cost the city thousands of dollars, then the bumbling through the Renaissance all these years, the Prestage vote, now this wise crack about how great young people are versus older folks with experience. Again, sad. Is this what he teaches kids in the classroom?

  16. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 2:27 am

    SOME things don’t make sense.
    1. where did he come from?? wasn’t in the initial running
    2. were the other 5 cast aside cause this guy came out of the shadows?
    3. why did we waste $6600 for the search that wasn’t needed?
    4. why is he being “shoed in? last week no one knew his name and this week being offered the job

    think that there was some “under the table” things going on, had to be, how can u find, interview and hire a person in one week, especially to run the city

    another question, did city hall recruit him or did he contact the city with interest?

    is he Robin’s cousin?????

  17. Avatar

    Worst place on earth Reply Report comment

    April 10, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Dissolve government and leave decisions to the people themselves. Mason City will always be what it’s always been. Children get out as soon as you can.

  18. Avatar

    Anonymous.. Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Does anyone EVER have anything positive to say about anything?
    Maybe he will work out or maybe he wont but give the guy a chance.

    • Avatar

      Amanda Steckmeyer Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Are you going to be so tolerant when you see his salary and the City reduces services or staff because of the pending loss of State backfill funding? It appears quite obvious this “kid” is trying to leverage a weak group and has a history of taking advantage in Keokuk. Who quits a job after 2 years and getting out on a $30,000 pay increase plan? Keokuk got taken and so will we.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous.. Reply Report comment

        April 10, 2018 at 5:37 pm

        I an not sure if i will tolerate this or not. I do know that I will come to that conclusion once I see what the salary is and how this “Kid” performs on the job. Until then I will be positive.
        “Who leaves a job after only 2 years??”
        Well a smart person does if a better opportunity come their way especially if you are young and are building for your future.

  19. Avatar

    Alex Bookman Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Is it true??? MC got the guy from Keokuk; wait is that even in Iowa??? Bahahaha. Oh, and he was there a little over 2 years; with that kind of experience I hope we are giving him $165,000. WTF, why didn’t they pursue the guy in Clear Lake. Kiss the RCR project goodbye. This kid is way too green – 7 years as a city Administrator – did he even meet the mimimum criteria??

  20. Avatar

    Lebron Wade Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Better look into this salary hike he got in keokuk. At what must be the ripe old age of 34, it appears this man went to Keokuk in 2015 from Bumboldt. His salary was $73,000 there and he extorted $110,000 out of them in keokuk. Then he bleed them more for an additional $30,000 over 3 years. Knowing no one would go to Keokuk he made them pay then left 6 months into the 3 year pay plan. Wow! What a bunch we have on the Council. Mayor is a idiot too.

  21. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    This is one of those times when you can predict the future by looking at the “players” and more importantly “the past”! Not going to be a good outcome considering your fearless leaders and their track record! Bend over again taxpayers!

  22. Avatar

    money changes everything Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Well I see our new leader just scored himself a $30,000 raise last year up to $120K salary from the good citizens of Keokuk then he bails a few months later hmmmm

  23. Avatar

    age has something to do with it Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Did John Lee really tell the globe that young people are better than older more experienced folks?

    • Avatar

      depends undergarments Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      Lee said “His youth and enthusiasm is really big” … lol “big youth” sounds very much like something Lee would say, a dumb statement and a total slap in the dentures to the older folk that make up a huge part of Mason City. PS mr Lee your fancy trenchcoat does not make you look any smarter than you actually are your cover was blown when you voted down our pork plant.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        April 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

        Once again Lee opens his mouth without thinking! This could be a huge lawsuit!

        • NIT Publisher

          NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

          April 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

          Age is a protected class for employment in Iowa. I sure hope none of the passed-over candidates were much older than the man they selected, or these statements in the press by Councilman Lee could could back to haunt.

          https://icrc.iowa.gov/your-rights/protected-classes

          Chapter 216 of the Iowa Civil Rights code states …

          “It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any:

          a. Person to refuse to hire, accept, register, classify, or refer for employment, to discharge any employee, or to otherwise discriminate in employment against any applicant for employment or any employee because of the age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability of such applicant or employee…”

  24. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    I wonder if this guy has any idea what kind of a broken city he is going to work for?

    • Avatar

      young talent Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Right. Bill Pickle wants to finish the job of ruining Mason City so he choose himself a lad from a town on quicker decline than MC. Pickle set up Indianhead which put a nail in the coffin for downtown shops and the mall. This hire should throw a few shovels of dirt on top. Keokuk is rust belt town in the armpit of Iowa. It is povertyland, hemorrhaging population faster than north iowa.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      All he’d have to do is Google us. It’s all there in gory detail. That’s the first thing job applicants do these days.

  25. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Is it some big secret what they are paying this (very) young man? Where is the transparency? And is this the same kid who was busted for underage boozing in Hawkeye land years back?

    • Avatar

      Coors lite Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Shut up. Next thing you will do is bring up Kim Reynolds two drunk driving arrests. Alcohol (ism) is NOT a crime, you jerk. And boozing is nothing new to the puppet masters who run Mason City. So leave it alone.

    • Avatar

      Oops I did it again Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      So this young boy scout told the newspaper “It seems the council and mayor are good people to work with.” How fast will he find out their wives and their kids tell them all how to vote lol he better convince them of anything first lol.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        April 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm

        Isn’t that what you’d say if you wanted the job?

  26. Avatar

    U got 2 b kidding me Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    How many trips were made by our City leaders to Keokuk to see what he has done there? All I can say is, wow! Not what I expected; we got the guy from Keokuk – I guess our prayers are no answered that this young man from one of the most destitute places in the Midwest is coming to save us. Seriously, Keokuk?????

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      I would certainly include Mason City on your list of most destitute places in the Midwest. So at least this guy has some experience managing Cities on the decline.

  27. Avatar

    Don Marsters Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    This person did not have support beyond the Council. The business people in town and many others wanted them to pursue Flory. My estimate is he will bail in 1 1/2 years like Brent Willett. He sure is no Brent Trout who had far more experience when he came here. Let’s get a poll on here: I disapprove

  28. Avatar

    Phil S Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I can summarize this “kid” up quickly. All about $$$ and trying to turn a quick buck. He has been in keokuk for 2 years??? Wow, who cares. What is the salary and benefits?? Refinancing bonds got him a state award??? Hasn’t Jacobson done that like 10 times??? Looks like a pick made in simple desperation. No seasoned person would take it, so pick this kid.

  29. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    The key words here by Schikel is ” the players”.
    Ya Billy, the players, like Robin Anderson, you and the other scammers.

    “The challenges he will face stem from the larger population of Mason City and the countless parties involved in city politics here, Schickel said.

    “Number one, it’s a much bigger community than he’s worked in before,” Schickel said. “Two, it’s getting to know the community, the players…..”