New mayor dismisses two Mitchell department headsMayor Ken Tracy declines to reveal names until affected officials have chance to weigh options
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
Two top city employees will not be reappointed to their positions at the next Mitchell City Council meeting July 16, Mayor Ken Tracy confirmed Thursday.
Tracy said in response to Daily Republic questions that he spoke with two of the city’s nine department heads Thursday morning and told both they will not be retained past the upcoming council meeting.
As both officials have been given the opportunity to resign or retire before the meeting, Tracy declined to release their names.
“Out of respect to them, I would first give them that choice,” said Tracy, who was elected June 5 and sworn in Monday.
The nine city department heads are Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson; Public Works Director Tim McGannon; Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg; Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling; Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Dusty Rodiek; Senior Services Executive Director Brenda Paradis; Golf and Cemetery Director Kevin Thurman; Human Resources Director Billie Kelly; and City Attorney Randy Stiles.
If the two officials not being reappointed choose not to resign or retire, Tracy said their terminations will be announced at the next council meeting.
“Their employment would terminate no later than July 16,” he said.
If either of the officials does resign or retire, Tracy said that information will be released immediately.
State law gives the mayor the authority to fire department heads but requires him to report his reasons to the council.
“… The mayor shall have power except as otherwise provided to remove from office any officer appointed by him, whenever he shall be of the opinion that the interests of the municipality demand such removal, but he shall report the reasons for his removal to the council at its next regular meeting,” says South Dakota Codified Law 9-14-13.
The Daily Republic contacted Overweg, Schilling, Rodiek and Thurman on Thursday evening, but all declined to comment.
Calls made to the remaining department heads were not answered or immediately returned.
Tracy made public the possibility that some of the jobs of the city’s top officials could be in jeopardy following Monday’s council meeting at which Tracy and five council members were sworn in. At that meeting, a private session was conducted to discuss the department heads.