To say the Wells City Council was caught off guard Monday night at its meeting may be an understatement.
Mayor Shannon Savick’s suggestion to add “Unfinished Business” to future meeting agendas didn’t sit too well with City Administrator Jeremy Germann.
The rest of the council thought it was a good idea and gave their approval.
Savick then wanted to go over some items that haven’t been done, but Germann wasn’t too receptive and issued a verbal resignation to be effective Sept. 1.
“If you want to keep track of what I do, you can hire someone else,” Germann told the council.
After the meeting, Savick was finding it difficult understanding Germann’s decision.“I wasn’t trying to put Jeremy on the spot. As a council we just need to do follow up and make sure some things don’t fall through the cracks,” she says.
Germann says he plans to submit a letter of resignation.
In May, the city administrator implemented a new policy to end individual meetings with councilmembers to discuss an issue. At that time, Germann said he would be available to address issues at committee and council meetings.
Councilman Mike Weber thinks Germann decided to step down because he wasn’t pleased with how city government functions.
“He must feel the city has done something wrong and he doesn’t want to be a part of it anymore,” says Weber.
Councilman Ron Gaines says the council must still vote to accept Germann’s resignation and was hoping he would change his mind.
“The one saving grace is there’s nothing in writing. Unless we get something in writing, it’s not official,” he says. “We’ve never acted on anything verbal.”
Like Gaines, Councilman Steve Burns says Germann has been under a lot of pressure lately and working long hours.
“He’s a very valuable employee. Hopefully he reconsiders, because he’s well liked and is doing a great job,” says Burns.
In a July 18 e-mail to Germann, Savick wrote she wants a process that keeps council motions or items sent to committees kept on agenda until they are completed.
Some of the items include motions passed on June 14, such as:
• Notices to clean the storage area at the community building;
• Bid for City Hall handicapped-accessible restroom;
• Hiring a City Hall part-time employee;
• Data privacy training for city employees, including council members.
One of the items approved for action, says Savick, dates back three years ago to the previous city administrator.
Savick says she plans to talk with Germann.
The mayor played a big role in convincing Germann not to leave Wells for a job in Waseca County.
When Germann was hired in October 2008 he received a starting annual salary of $43,500. That was increased to $69,000 at the beginning of this year.