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Atlantic Personnel & Finance Committee recommends severance package for City Administrator Doug Harris


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Personnel and Finance Committee met Tuesday evening to discuss and act on recommending to the full Council, a severance package for City Administrator Doug Harris. Harris said he was asked to resign last Thursday, and he agreed his last day at work would be October 3rd.

City Attorney Dave Wiederstein layed out the tentative terms of the severance package, which was essentially what was stipulated in Harris contract when he came to the City in Jan., 2010.

The terms are as follows:  Doug Harris will resign as the City Administrator, and his last day of employment will be on October 3, 2014; The City will pay Doug Harris $52,049, which is an amount equal to six months of Doug Harris’ aggregate salary. This amount will be paid to Doug Harris in twelve equal installments of $4,337.42 (twice each month for six months beginning in October, 2014); Health insurance and retirement benefits received by Doug Harris during his term of employment will continue in full force for six months from October 3, 2014. The vehicle allowance and City-provided cell phone will discontinue as of October 3, 2014.; The City will compensate Doug Harris for all accrued and unused vacation and sick time as of October 3, 2014. Unused vacation and sick time will be paid to Doug in eight (8) equal semi-monthly installments beginning in April 2015 through July 2015.; There is a Mutual Release of Liability, and DougHarris agrees to not seek unemployment benefits from the City.

However, Harris said during Tuesday’s meeting that he doesn’t feel comfortable with the part of the agreement which refers to unemployment benefits. In particular, he was concerned about waiving his rights to unemployment benefits “forever.” He said it would be fair, and he agrees not to seek those benefits, while he’s being paid six months salary following his separation, but beyond that, if he is not employed, he wants that option open. There is also the possibility he may be allowed to purchase the laptop he uses, with the exception all city material and information would be removed.

There were a number of people in attendance at the meeting, who voiced their concerns over the sudden, recent developments. There were also questions by the media with regard to how and when members of the Council got together with and without Harris, to discuss his “resignation.” Questions remain as to whether those discussions violated the terms of Iowa’s Open Meeting Law. Wiedestein confirmed the Mayor and Harris had discussed the matter, but Committee Chair Kathy Somers denied there were any other discussions held, and that “No open meeting laws had been violated.”

Harris took over the position in 2010 from Ron Crisp, who retired in Dec., 2009. He recently butted heads with the Mayor and City Council over the Tax Abatement for improvements, which the City’s Legal Counsel, Bob Jostens said cannot legally be retroactive to Jan., 2014. The Mayor and the Council however, chose to make the abatements retroactive, and are leaving it up to Cass County Assessor Brenda Nelson to decide if the project qualifies for an abatement and if so, how much.

The Committee’s recommendation will be sent to the full City Council for action during its meeting on Oct. 1st. That meeting begins at 5:30-p.m.

Absentee ballots for Nov. 4th Gen. Election to be accepted 9/25


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman reports that requests for ABSENTEE BALLOTS (ballots cast prior to ‘election day’ by mail or at Auditor’s office) may be sent or brought to the County Auditor’s office. First day to vote in the auditor’s office is Thursday, September 25, 2014 and the last day to vote in the auditor’s office is Monday, November 3, 2014.

VOTER REGISTRATION: In order to vote in Iowa a person must be registered in the person’s current county of residence, under the person’s present name, and at the person’s current address. Registration forms are available at the county auditor’s office, many State of Iowa service offices and on the Secretary of State’s web site: sos.ia.gov

The county election commissioner recommends that persons not currently registered or who have moved since last registering and are planning to vote in the November GENERAL ELECTION pre-register in the office of the County Auditor as soon as possible. You may register or re-register and vote absentee on the same day.

Reminder: You may also update your registration as you update your address for your driver’s license. Since your Iowa driver’s license is often used as official identification, it’s important that the data shown is accurate. In fact, Iowa law requires residents to notify the Department of Transportation within 30 days of an address change. You may be fined for having inaccurate information on your license if you are stopped by a police officer while driving. The easiest method of changing your address is to visit an Iowa driver’s license station – in Cass County that station is in the Cass County Treasurer’s office, Courthouse, Atlantic, Iowa (there is a $1 fee for updating your driver’s license at the driver’s license station).

ABSENTEE BALLOTS: Dale Sunderman, Cass County Auditor, also notes that if a person chooses, he/she may request and vote a ballot before election day (called ABSENTEE BALLOT). You may request that the ballot be sent to you by mail (USPS) or you may vote at the office of the County Auditor.

IF YOU HAVE THE BALLOT MAILED TO YOU: A written request may be mailed or hand delivered to the County Auditor’s office. (Absentee request forms are available at the auditor’s office and on the Secretary of State’s web site: sos.ia.gov). A ballot along with instructions on how to complete the ballot will be mailed to the requester. The package will include a RETURN ENVELOPE with POSTAGE AFFIXED and an AFFIDAVIT ENVELOPE. For the ballot to be counted, the completed ballot, sealed in the AFFIDAVIT ENVELOPE (the voter must sign the affidavit envelope) must be returned by mail postmarked no later than the day before the election. Alternatively the ballot may be returned by personal carrier to the office of County Auditor before the polls close on election day. All BALLOTS MUST BE RETURNED, whether they were voted or not voted.

IF VOTING AT THE COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE: beginning September 25th, the absentee voter may come to the CASS COUNTY COURTHOUSE during the regular office hours of 8 AM thru 4:30 PM, Monday thru Friday, up through the day before the election and cast a ballot. In addition to regular office hours, the office of Cass County Auditor will be open Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 8 AM thru 5 PM and Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 9 AM thru 5 PM.

The address for the Cass County Auditor / Election Commissioner is:


Drug Arrest


September 23rd, 2014 by admin

An Odebolt man was arrested on numerous traffic violations after a traffic stop by Guthrie County officials last week. Robert Brummer was stopped for traffic violation in Stuart and during the course of the stop it was discovered to have a suspended drivers license and was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and controlled substances. Since the traffic stop took place in Adair County, Brummer was arrested and booked into the Adair County Jail on numerous traffic violations and three drug violations including possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana second offense, and second offense possession of methamphetamine. The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Stuart Police Department.

Iowa DOT to hire more snow plow workers for winter


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Transportation officials say they plan to hire hundreds of more temporary workers to operate snow plows around Iowa this winter. The state Department of Transportation say they’re hiring nearly 600 snow plow operators for a period that runs between the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. That’s a jump from the hiring of about 300 to 400 workers last winter, Des Moines television station KCCI reported.

The department posted openings recently on its website for jobs in cities across the state. The additional hires are aimed at helping workers who put in overtime hours to combat last winter’s severe weather, the station reported. Employment will run from Oct. 15 through April 15.

Report: Iowa could bring in $24M in taxes each year by legalizing marijuana


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new report puts a price tag on what Iowa might reap in tax revenues every year if the state legalized marijuana. The financial website NerdWallet-dot-com took the data from an anonymous health survey that found about four-percent of Iowans over age 25 said they’d smoked pot in the past month. Based on Iowa’s population, that’s about 84-thousand users.

From there, the report’s writers mirrored what Colorado has done and figured in a 15-percent excise tax on all marijuana sales. The final tally exceeded 24-million dollars which the website claims Iowa could generate in taxes each year by making pot legal. Nationwide, the figure exceeds three-billion.

(Radio Iowa)

Free Elder Law Seminar for Older Iowans and their Caregivers on October 23, 2014.


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Legal Aid’s Legal Hotline for Older Iowans and the Iowa Department on Aging are presenting a free Elder Law Seminar on October 23, 2014. The seminar will provide older Iowans and their caregivers with valuable information to protect their rights and limited resources. Pre-registration by October 17, 2014 is requested to ensure that everybody receives the written seminar

The seminar will teach people about Medicaid eligibility for paying nursing home expenses and the new protections and remedies for older adults provided by Iowa’s new Elder Abuse Act and the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Participants will also learn about the rights retained by residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including rights that protect residents from abuse, invasions of privacy, involuntary discharges and being denied visitors.

The seminar is funded in part with grants from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, the Iowa Lawyers Trust Account Commission and the U.S. Administration on Aging. The seminar will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at 3:45 p.m. The seminar will be available as a webinar through your personal computer. It will also be broadcast over the Iowa Communications Network at 29 locations throughout Iowa including: Denison – Western Iowa Tech Community College, 11 North 35th Street, Room B-6.

A complete list of all locations and a registration form are available online at
www.connectionsaaa.org,  or by calling the Legal Hotline for Older Iowans at 1-800-992-8161.

Union County Accident


September 23rd, 2014 by admin

The Union County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two vehicle accident Monday afternoon at the intersection of Cherry Street Road and County Road H-37. 17 year old Quintin Chumbley of Mount Ayr was travelling east on County Road H-37 following a semi tractor trailer which was causing a lot of dust and did not realize the vehicle had stopped at a stop sign. Chumbley rear-ended trailer of the semi trailer. The driver of the semi continued east and did not stop. Damage to the Chumbley vehicle listed at 45-hundred dollars. Chumbley was taken to Greater Regional Medical Center for treatment of unknown injuires as were passengers 17 year old Wesley Oliphant of Fort Walton Beach Florida and 35 year old Christina Dillinger of Creston. No citations were filed as a result of the accident.

Atlantic Accident


September 23rd, 2014 by admin

The Atlantic Police Department investigated a two vehicle accident Monday afternoon at the corner of 14th Street and Bryn Mawr Blvd. A vehicle owned by Vaul Trust of Hunt Valley Maryland was legally parked front of 14-03 Bryn Mawr Blvd. Connie Beaty of Atlantic was turning off of East 14th Street and was heading south. Beaty Struck the Vaul Trust in the left rear corner causing her vehicle to roll onto its left side. Beaty was able to out of her vehicle thru the passenger window uninjured. Damage to the vehicles estimated at 14-thousand dollars.

Christie returning to Iowa for Branstad fundraiser


September 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Christie Christie is set to visit Iowa next month to appear at a fundraiser for Gov. Terry Branstad. The campaign for Branstad, who is running for his sixth non-consecutive term, announced Tuesday that Christie will attend Branstad’s annual birthday fundraiser on Oct. 25 in Clive.

Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a role that provides him with the opportunity to raise money and campaign for GOP candidates. He made a July visit to Iowa, sparking speculation about his presidential aspirations.

During Christie’s last trip to the kickoff voting state, he raised money for Republican candidates. He appears to have survived the lane-closing scandal that rocked his administration, though an investigation continues.

Recent polls have shown Branstad with a substantial lead against his Democratic opponent Jack Hatch.

Atlantic City Personnel & Finance Meeting


September 23rd, 2014 by admin

The City of Atlantic Personnel and Finance committee will meet this evening at 6-15. The committee will meet to discuss a severance agreement and will meet Wednesday afternoon at 5-15 to discuss the hiring of an assistant park and recreation director.