MASON CITY | The City Council agreed Tuesday night to hire Mark Jackson and Brent Hinton to lead the search for a new city administrator.

Jackson, city administrator in Story City and Hinton, with city administrator experience in Garner, also operate consulting firms and have worked together on 14 city administrator recruitments in recent years.

"They came to us," said Personnel Director Perry Buffington. "They know most of the players in Iowa and the Midwest — who might be available and who would be a good fit. They give us an inroad into the most qualified candidates," he said.

Buffington said the search begins in earnest Friday with the placement of ads in various publications.

He said the city's personnel department is in charge of the search with the help of Jackson and Hinton.

The goal is to reach a good field of candidates, narrow it down to several finalists, bring them in for interviews and for the council to hire one of them in March.

The consultants' fee is $6,600. Buffington said typical fees from search firms for similar work are in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

Tuesday's meeting was the last regular meeting for Mayor Eric Bookmeyer and Councilman Travis Hickey.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor-elect/Councilman Bill Schickel presented each of them with plaques and thanked them for their eight years of service. Both chose not to seek re-election.

Hickey thanked city staff and the community and said, "I was always trying to do the best thing for the citizens, knowing you're not going to make everyone happy."

Bookmeyer also offered his thanks to city staff and council members past and present. "We battle it out like you can't believe, but we get it done," he said.

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