The City of Grimes will soon have a new City Administrator. Jake Anderson, the current City Administrator for the City of Van Meter will soon take the helm.
The details surrounding the departure of former Grimes City Administrator, Kelley Brown, however, are uncertain at this time.
According to the City’s annual financial audit, provided by Andy Nielsen of the State Auditor’s office and dated March 27, 2018, the Grimes City Council decided not to renew Brown’s contract in December, 2017. The audit states that the public purpose for not renewing her contract was not documented and they could not “determine how the taxpayers’ best interests were served by these actions.”
The City responded in the audit, saying the public purpose was explained to the State Auditor during a conference at City Hall on Jan. 19, 2018 and was documented in writing in the City Council Resolution and notice of Non-Renewal, but the audit’s conclusion states that the resolution provided did not explain the public purpose.
According to the audit, because “timely notice” was not given before deciding against renewing Brown’s contract, the City was required to pay her 365 days severance pay in addition to all the benefits. The audit states that the total amount paid for this was $198,000, which includes salary, employer share of FICA and IPERS, insurance premiums, annual group membership fees and remaining vacation for calendar years 2017 and 2018.
Interim Grimes City Administrator, Mark Arentsen, declined a request for comment about the reason behind the non-renewal of Brown’s contract via email on Monday.
The City Council agenda from Dec. 5, 2017, indicates that a special meeting was held at 7 a.m. with a closed session. The subject matter of that closed meeting is not included in the meeting minutes, but one week later at the City’s regular meeting, the City voted to hire Arentsen as Interim City Administrator as a part of the meeting’s consent agenda.
Brown spent nearly 24 years as the Grimes City Administrator. She had previously been honored as Grimes Citizen of the Year and, in that same year, Jan. 22 was declared “Kelley Brown Day” by the Grimes City Council in her honor.
This is a developing story and the Dallas County News will update this story as additional information becomes available.