Pickens resigns as public works director

Staff writer

Peabody Public Works Director Darren Pickens resigned early on the morning of Oct. 9, hours after the Peabody City Council met in closed session to discuss personnel.

The council met in closed session for about an hour at a special meeting the evening of Oct. 8. Mayor Larry Larsen, Interim City Administrator Mac Manning, and Police Chief Bruce Burke were included in the closed session. No action was taken when the meeting returned to open session.

In the morning on Oct. 9, Manning said Pickens resigned his position with the city as public works director, effective immediately.

“He resigned for personal reasons,” Manning said.

Ronnie Harms will fill the position on an interim basis.

Larsen confirmed the resignation as well.

“I would personally like to thank him for his years of service to the city,” Larsen said. “But, yes, he did resign for person reasons this morning and it is effective immediately.”

Pickens could not be reached for comment.

The city council met Monday evening for its regularly scheduled meeting. Members officially accepted Pickens’ letter of resignation as well as that of Leah Ottensmeier.

Manning said that on Oct. 1, Ottensmeier had presented him with a letter of resignation from her position as city treasurer, but indicated she could stay on as court clerk until the council decided whether to keep the jobs together as one position or separate them into two as they were in 2012.

City personnel code requires a two-week notice for such a resignation and Manning noted the two weeks were up. The council agreed the job description encompassed both positions and accepted Ottensmeier’s resignation.

Manning said that he would begin advertising for a public works director and city treasurer/court clerk.

Manning also expressed his appreciation to the remaining city employees whom he said have made an effort to absorb the extra duties and are doing a good job.

In other business:

  • Manning asked the council to approve an increase in the monthly automobile allowance for animal control officer Duane Davis. Manning reported that in checking city council minutes, he found the last increase for the position was granted in 2006 when gas was about $1.53 a gallon instead of $3.42 as Mid-Kansas Co-op had it this past week. Council members approved increasing Davis’ allowance from $150 to $250 per month.
  • Council members approved a request for a $50 donation to the annual Marion County Toy Run, to be held Nov. 2.
  • Manning said he is working in Peabody Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week.
  • The council went into executive session to discuss personnel after a request by Manning. The session lasted 10 minutes and no action was taken on return to open meeting.

The next meeting of the Peabody City Council will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in the city building.

 

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