by Ivan Foley
No increase in salary, but a relaxed residency requirement.
That might be the best way to summarize an extension of the employment contract for D.J. Gehrt, city administrator for Platte City.
Platte City’s Board of Aldermen Tuesday night extended Gehrt’s contract by another year. The new agreement, which will be looked at again in November as part of an annual review process, expires in November of 2015.
There is no pay hike for Gehrt in the new agreement. His salary will remain at $87,547.
Gehrt was hired in November of 2011 at a salary of $85,000. His salary did not increase in 2012 as the budget froze salaries for all staff. In November of 2013, Gehrt and all city staff members with satisfactory performance evaluations received a three percent increase.
What is different in this new agreement is the residency requirement. The old pact required the city administrator to have a residence in the city limits.
“They are giving me a temporary waiver, which is good through November of 2015, that I have to live within a 30 minute response time from the city limits,” Gehrt said.
Gehrt said he still owns a residence “just on the other side of Smithville Lake in Clinton County.” He has had an apartment in Platte City.
He said in the past he has had his Clinton County home on the market but has been unable to sell it.
“With the market situation, we have been unable to sell. I appreciate the board’s consideration to give me the waiver because you don’t want to take a bath on a house,” he told The Landmark this week.
The new agreement also calls for Gehrt to “maintain a mailing address within the corporate boundaries of the city.”
Gehrt said he likes the idea of the board of aldermen reviewing his employment agreement every November and extending by one year at that time if the parties agree rather than having an automatic three year extension.
He said the annual discussion and decision to extend the agreement by another year allows for any issues to be brought to light instead of allowing differences to “fester.”
Gehrt served as city administrator at Plattsburg in Clinton County for 10 years. Before being hired by Platte City, he most recently had been local government advisory team leader in Kabul, Afghanistan for 18 months while working for International City County Government Association (ICMA) developing organizational capacity in all major functional areas of local government.