Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
The city paid Springstead, a consulting firm, more than they were contractually obligated to pay, and council member Larry Fotovich asked city staff why.
City council members agreed to pay Springstead $11,000 to help guide hiring for a new city administrator. Council also agreed to pay no more than $500 in travel costs for Springstead to lead the search.
Instead, staff issued a check to Springstead for $15,500. The invoice shows $15,500 in base fees plus $750 in travel expenses and another $600 in incidentals like advertising.
Fotovich said he requested an itemized list for the $4,500 in base fees above and beyond the contract agreement during a council meeting Monday night.
“The bill came in 50 to 60 percent more and there’s no itemization,” he said. “What is the process for writing checks compared to the contract we have signed?”
Council members Brian Broxterman and Kristina Harrison served on a committee that hired Springstead to assist in hiring a new administrator. The committee selected the organization before council members Fotovich, Dennis Pugh and Chris Morrow were elected to office.
The search for a city administrator was put on hold earlier this month after two of three finalists for the position withdrew their names from consideration.
Mayor Dave Drovetta wrote in a letter to the community that leaks from council members caused the candidates to withdraw from the process. In his letter to the community, he said he will seek the services of Mike Press, former Johnson County Manager and former interim city administrator in Edgerton, to serve as the city’s interim administrator. However, the item was not on the council agenda on Oct. 3.  Drovetta said council will likely vote on the issue during an Oct. 17 meeting.
Interim city administrator Melissa Mundt said she approved payment for Springstead’s services, but she didn’t have documentation for the reason why in front of her. Mundt attended the meeting via telephone.
“I know there was a difference,” she said. “But I’d have to look at it. It’s not on my laptop.”
“The invoice doesn’t address the $5,000 difference in base. (City staff has) already paid it,” he said. “What do we do so this doesn’t happen again if there’s a problem?”
Mundt said she doesn’t know that there was a problem.
Either way, Fotovi ch said he’d like an itemized invoice.
“Understood. We will get that information for you,” Mundt said.