New PB City Manager Given One Year Contract
Poplar Bluff, Mo. – The Poplar Bluff City Council voted 5-2 to approve a one-year contract for City Manager with Heath Kaplan this evening.
On Wednesday of last week, at a special session of the city council, members approved 7-0 to hire Mr. Kaplan. On Friday, the city issued a press release introducing their new city manager.
Tonight’s vote was whether to issue Kaplan a one-year contract laying out the duties, salary, termination procedures, benefits and allowances. Council members Betty Absheer and Ed Degaris voted no. Mayor Pearson, Mayor Pro Tem Rushin, along with councilmen Brannum, Tinsley and Johson voted yes for the contract.
At the beginning of the meeting during the citizen input portion, former city councilwoman McVey challenged the council for not releasing the contract prior to the council meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Rushin addressed Ms McVey and stated he was not aware that the contract had not been released and supported doing so. Rushin also commented on the irony of Ms McVey being concerned about the Kaplan contract’s release but didn’t follow that same standard pertaining to the purchase agreement of City Cable. City Clerk Pam Kearbey left the council chambers and returned with printed copies for the public.
The city has agreed to pay Kaplan $160,000 per year plus medical and retirement benefits. In addition, the city will pay up to $15,000 in moving expenses and $5,000 per year vehicle allowance. Councilman Ed Degaris voiced his disapproval over Kaplan’s $8,000 allowance for the 457 Plan. Degaris said no other city employee gets their 457 Plan paid for. Rushin explained that the allowance was consistent with other city manager agreements within our state.
Mayor Pearson stated that Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce President, Steve Halter, also on the search committee, contacted Pearson and urged her not to let Kaplan get away. She emphasized that getting a quality city manager meant the city would have to pay more.
At the end of the council meeting, Interim City Manager, Mark Massingham, acknowledged to the council that would be his last meeting as interim and he thanked council for allowing him the opportunity. The chamber broke out in applause when Mayor Pearson spoke her appreciation of his performance as Interim City Manager.