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Muscatine City council could be getting ready to fire the city administrator

MUSCATINE, Iowa - The Muscatine City Council will discuss terminating city administrator Gregg Mandsager's contract during their next meeting on November 7th.

Mayor Diana Broderson confirmed Tuesday that the majority of the council moved to add an agenda item to not only discuss, but to possibly take action on terminating Mandsager's contract during the November 7th meeting.

The request to add that agenda item was made by councilman Kelcey Brackett.

The exact reason why the council wants to discuss the termination of Mandsager's contract has not been disclosed to the public.

The city administrator and his staff were out of the office on Oct. 22 for a part of the day due to personal reasons, so they were unable to respond to any request for information about this situation,  according to city communications manager, Kevin Jenison.

Brackett made the request for the agenda item to be added directly after concerns were raised by councilman Santos Saucedo during their October 17th meeting.

Those concerns were about a new document that city staff was required to sign.

It would require all city workers to immediately report back to the city administrator each and every time they had a work-related conversations or meetings with elected officials.

"He felt that that was basically nullifying the change to the ordinance and that he would like to have that further looked into," said Mayor Broderson about the concerns that were raised.

The ordinance previously prohibited elected officials from directly communicating with city staff about work related issues.

It's a rule that was put in place to ensure the city administrator was the only person able to direct the staff to perform duties.

Mayor Broderson said most cities have similar rules but that Muscatine's rules were extremely strict compared to other cities.

"Several of our council members have found (the rule) to be a barrier towards open communication and them having an opportunity to learn and know more about what's going on in the day to day life of the city," said Borderson.

So, the council updated the ordinance.

Meetings and work-related conversations would be allowed and the city administrator would be informed of issues that were discussed and all directives would still come from the city administrator.

Broderson said she is unable to say if the frustrations over the document staff was asked to sign and the request to add the agenda item to discuss and possibly take action on ending Mandsager's contract were related.

"It's a personnel issue," she explained. "As far as if anything is going to be disclosed down the road, in a public meeting, i'm not sure if that`s going to happen or not."

The agenda item will be discussed at the city council meeting on November 7th at Muscatine City Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Mandsager has been City Administrator in Muscatine since 2009.

He received a 2% pay raise in 2017 and been reported to have a reputation of being able to hold down taxes, stay within the budget and smoothly operate the city.

In June of 2019, he settled a lawsuit with the city. He was awarded $50,000 after filing a lawsuit claiming the mayor was spreading lies about him.

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