ENCORE: Waukee's City Administrator Resigns; Deets Named as Interim Replacement
Jeff Kooistra resigned from his position as the Waukee city administrator Monday night amidst criticism that he wasn't doing enough to show progress on the Alice's Road project.
Waukee City Council members accepted City Administrator Jeff Kooistra’s resignation Monday evening, approving a severance package which continues his $122,300 annual salary for six months and continues his insurance into November.
Additionally on Monday, council members unanimously appointed Development Services Director Brad Deets, a five-year city employee, as interim city administrator. The agreement also stipulates that neither party take any legal action against the other, or make any damaging statements about each other.
Kooistra's resignation came in the aftermath of an April 16 meeting when Waukee council members openly criticized the city administration.
What's your take on Waukee's progress -- or lack thereof -- on development issues such as Alice's Road? Was a change in leadership needed? Tell us below in comments.
There was no public discussion of Kooistra's resignation at the meeting.
Following Monday night’s meeting Mayor Bill Peard handed out a news release which read in part: “Jeff Kooistra, the city administrator for Waukee, has tendered his resignation to the mayor and City Council, to pursue other opportunities. Mr. Kooistra has positioned the city to continue to successfully grow.”
Peard said he would make no other comment than what was in the release, other than to wish Kooistra well in the future.
Kooistra, who was not at the meeting but was reached by phone afterward, said he has no plans at the moment, and that he felt a press release said enough.
The press release also said, “The mayor and City Council understand Mr. Kooistra’s interest to move on and wish him the best in his future pursuits.”
The tone of the press release was a far cry from discussions at the April meeting when Councilman Mike Watts talked openly about his concerns with what he perceived as a lack of momentum on projects.
Last month Watts suggested more attention needed to be given to the Alice's Road right of way; an assessment policy for street improvement; the proposed community center and how the council should proceed; rules and regulations for the council and mayor; and administration and staffing issues.
Watts also suggested Kooistra wasn't up to speed on council procedures, mainly the way items are added to the council agenda.
"Jeff is confused about what we can do and what we can’t do," said Watts at last month's meeting. "If someone calls up and says, 'I want something on the agenda,' then put it on the agenda."
Following the meeting, Watts said he had no comment on Kooistra’s resignation, but wished him well.
Deets said he worked well and closely with Kooistra, and felt he could move forward with the projects the city is working on, such as the Alice’s Road interchange. Since federal money was awarded toward the cost of the interchange's construction, some residents have said they have not been contacted about selling right of way to the city to allow work to begin.
“We’ve met with all five property owners and discussions are moving forward,” Deets said.
He also said the meetings had taken place over the last couple of months.
Peard said the process of finding a new city administrator is up to the council, but he expects the subject will come up at future council meetings soon.