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The city of Clarion has parted ways with its administrator.

The Clarion City Council approved a separation agreement and release with Jordan Cook, who has been the city administrator since November 2017, during a special meeting Tuesday.

“The City employed Cook as City Administrator and the parties desire to end their relationship and fully and finally settle all issues arising out of Cook’s employment without the necessity of any further administrative or legal action,” the agreement stated.

Jordan Cook

Cook

Cook resigned as city administrator, effective Tuesday, with the city waiving the 60-day notice requirement. His resignation is not in lieu of termination, the agreement states.

He will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $29,240.35, including four months of salary, unused earned vacation and personal days and six months of insurance premium.

The agreement was “executed as a compromise settlement of a disputed claim, liability and/or wrongdoing for which is expressly denied by the parties released,” and the obligations of the agreement “do not constitute an admission of liability on the part of any person or entity,” it states.

Cook, who was reached via Facebook on Wednesday, said he and the city entered into the separation agreement mutually, but he declined to comment further stating they don’t discuss personnel matters.

Under the separation agreement, Cook agreed not to sue the city in the future.

The special meeting Tuesday was set after a closed session on Sept. 3, where Cook’s performance was reviewed. It was the second of two closed sessions to discuss the matter. The other was Aug. 20.

After the closed session, Cook was placed on paid administrative leave until his departure Tuesday, said Mayor Duane Asbe.

Earlier this summer, the City Council amended its ordinances related to the responsibilities of the city administrator, mayor, mayor pro tem and police department.

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The ordinance related to the city administrator duties was amended to include more supervision of the city’s departments, including the police department.

Asbe, who is in his second year as mayor after serving two terms as a councilman, said the ordinance amendments and the separation agreement and release are “totally unrelated” to each other.

The council’s ordinance changes were made to improve the city’s efficiency and better serve the residents, he noted.

Cook, a Nebraska native, was hired by the city of Clarion in November 2017 after serving as an assistant to city engineer in La Vista, Nebraska, for more than a year. He has a master’s degree in urban studies and public affairs from the University of Nebraska Omaha.

A human relations committee, comprising Asbe, Councilwoman Teresa Lancaster and Councilman Dave Maxheimer, will meet this week to discuss the city’s next steps.

Asbe said the committee will discuss Clarion’s interim options as well as how it plans to proceed with hiring a full-time administrator.

“As far as timeframe, it’s impossible to say,” he said when asked when the council hopes to have a new administrator in place.

The mayor will remain the city’s chief executive officer, per the city’s ordinance.

The council meets the first and second Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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