Committee recommends part-time Mayor in Cedar Falls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Committee recommends part-time Mayor in Cedar Falls


The City of Cedar Falls is considering switching to a part-time Mayor in an attempt to keep a balanced budget long-term, but the concept isn't coming without some controversy.

A budget committee recommends downgrading the Mayor's position to part-time by 2016, and reducing the Mayor's salary to anywhere between $6,500 and $30,000.

According to a report released by the budget task force, Jon Crews, the current full-time Cedar Falls Mayor, will make approximately $114,750 in fiscal year 2014, including benefits.

"You could say we're trying to fix something that's not broken, however, we're trying to stay on top of the curve," said John Schilling, member of the Budget Reduction Task Force in Cedar Falls.

Schilling said changing the Mayor's position to part-time could save the City of Cedar Falls about $80,000. He also said it could help bring in good candidates for the position.

"The other difficult thing with a two-year Mayor's position that's full-time is there's a very limited resource pool to draw from for these people that want to run for Mayor. Number one, they have to be a resident in the City of Cedar Falls, and number two, are they going to give up their career for a two-year term?" asked Schilling.

Schilling said the proposal would move the current Director of Administrative Services, Richard McAlister, to an interim City Administrator in 2014.

The committee recommends McAlister sign a two-year term as City Administrator through 2016, which is also the year McAlister will likely "entertain retirement" according to Schilling.

During this two-year term, the committee recommends keeping a full-time Mayor in place.

"We get a good, one solid year out of a new first term Mayor," said Schilling. "With a City Administrator on the other hand, we've got somebody we can bring into that position until his retirement, but then we can bring somebody in that's got a good, strong background in a city of this size or larger that can come in and take over and keep moving the city forward in a positive manner."

Schilling said hiring a full-time City Administrator, who would be supervised by a part-time Mayor, would result in substantial cost-savings because there would be no new position added to the City's payroll and the Mayor's salary would be slashed by approximately $80,000.

He said there are only three cities of comparable size that have a full-time Mayor.

Meanwhile, current Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews said he thinks the city should keep a full-time Mayor.

"I think there should be a strong presence of political leadership, and if you had just a few hours a week I don't think that's enough time really to do major policy issues," said Crews.

"The structure can help a city and it can hinder, but the most important part is who is in the position," he said.

City council members tabled the proposal Monday night for further discussion, but council members could vote on the proposal at anytime.

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