MOLINE — The turnover at city hall continues.
City Attorney Maureen Riggs and Deputy City Attorney Amy Keys have resigned, bringing the total number of departures by senior staff to five within the past three months.
The last day for both Riggs and Keys will be May 3. Riggs has been city attorney since 2003.
Their departures follow the forced resignation of City Administrator Doug Maxeiner Jan. 22, the resignation of Planning and Development Director Ray Forsythe April 10, and the announcement by Finance Director Kathy Carr that she will retire.
"Amy Keys and I have submitted our resignations and have accepted new positions elsewhere," Riggs said Tuesday. "It has been a privilege to work with a staff of dedicated professionals for the past 16 years, and I wish them well in the future.
"I am excited to start a new chapter in my career and will be joining the firm of Churchill & Churchill in Moline," Riggs said.
Keys said she shares Riggs' sentiments.
"Working alongside such skilled city employees for almost eight years has been a joy," Keys said. "I will take all that I have learned with me as I begin my new government career."
Keys did not specify what her new job will be.
Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri and a majority of city council members have been in the process of pushing the legal department out the door.
On March 5, council members approved paying $10,000 to consultant Robert K. Bush to conduct a study on whether the city should hire an independent contractor to handle legal services. Alds. Lori Turner, 5th Ward, and Dick Potter, 4th Ward opposed, saying the city is better served by having legal counsel on site.
Acri said she was not sure why Riggs and Keys resigned.
"I have not received any information on why they submitted their letters of resignation," Acri said. "There were some things that triggered us looking at the legal department. It's pretty unusual to have four full-time staffers. We wanted to make sure we were operating as efficiently as possible."
Riggs earns an annual salary of $164,529, not including benefits or bonuses. Keys earns an annual salary of $97,589, not including benefits or bonuses.
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"It's quite a significant financial investment to offer legal services in those ways," Acri said. "We're feeling pretty good about the interim because we have so many relationships with other firms that have done contract work for the city."
Meanwhile, Acri said Bush has already begun his study on the city's need for legal services.
"He just sent out a (request for proposal) to legal firms to get their information on what services they could provide at what costs," Acri said. "We've also received a summary on employment practices."
Finance director leaving
Carr, 58, said she will retire after more than 35 years with the city and 26 years as finance director.
"It's earlier than I had planned," Carr said, noting her husband has already retired and they would like time to travel and visit family.
City council members approved public works department employee Randi Haley as interim finance director Tuesday night.
"I'm working with her to get her up to speed," Carr said. "She oversees the water meter program and sends out the bills."
Carr said she was surprised finance manager Keith Verbeke was not appointed as interim finance director. Verbeke has worked in the city's finance department for 15 years. Prior to that, Verbeke spent 25 years in government accounting.
Carr said there are 10 employees in the city's finance department, including her position.
Public Works Director J.D. Schulte said Haley started with the city in 2011 and serves as the the utility billing and customer service manager in public works. Schulte said Haley has a bachelor's degree in accounting and a Masters in business administration.
"It was well-thought out," Schulte said. "Randi is heavily integrated in finance, so it made sense to send her over there. I can see the big picture."
Lisa Kotter, who was recently hired to replace Maxeiner, begins with the city April 30. Acri said Kotter's priority will be to hire a new police chief first, then a finance director.
Former Police Chief John Hitchcock was placed on administrative leave following his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence Sept. 7. He retired in October.
Acri is optimistic about Kotter's ability to bring structure back to the city.
"Lisa will get to build her team and evaluate city services to make sure they are the most efficient," Acri said.