Kingman, new city manager agree to contract

Agreement takes effect Dec. 1

KINGMAN - John Dougherty was officially hired as the city manager Tuesday night when Mayor Janet Watson and the City Council voted unanimously to ratify his employment agreement after briefly meeting in closed session.

"I'm looking forward to getting to work," said Dougherty in a telephone interview Wednesday. He said contract negotiations went fairly smoothly.

Dougherty said he has already scheduled a full staff meeting and private meetings with individual department heads for the first week.

According to the agreement, which takes effect Dec. 1 and is good for two years, Dougherty will earn $115,000 to start - the minimum annual salary that was offered when the city advertised the position.

The agreement makes it clear the city manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council. Dougherty's employment can be terminated with or without cause with a majority vote of the entire Council.

The city must give Dougherty 30 days notice of termination, whether with or without cause.

If he's let go without cause, Dougherty would be eligible for six months severance pay if he has a year on the job at the time he's let go and three months salary after six months.

If he's fired for cause, however, Dougherty would not receive any severance pay. A for-cause termination could occur, for example, if he is convicted of a felony offense, acts contrary to an established code of ethics for city managers, or causes the city to be exposed to legal damages.

The city will pay Dougherty the equivalent of one month's salary - about $8,900 less taxes and other deductions - to move from Reedsburg, Wis., to Kingman.

Dougherty last served as a city manager in 2011, according to his resume.

He spent nearly three years with the city of Reedsburg, where he headed the finance, human resources and emergency management departments, and was the direct supervisor of seven other managers.

He supervised a total of 62 employees - 270 fewer than he'll oversee in Kingman.

Dougherty also compiled the city's $12.6 million operating and $8 million capital improvement budgets. He also wrote the city's grants, which totaled more than $6.5 million.

Dougherty wrote the employee manual and negotiated collective bargaining agreements, as well as development agreements.

Before Reedsburg, a city of about 10,000 people, Dougherty spent six years managing the city of Oconto Falls, Wis., where he was responsible for the city's day-to -day operations and oversaw a workforce of about 35 employees.

The city of about 3,000 residents was on the verge of bankruptcy when he took the helm in the summer of 2002, said Dougherty in an interview last week. It took him about 14 months to turn things around, he said.

He has a master's degree in political science with a concentration in public administration.

The city manager position had been vacant since July 1, when former City Manager Jack Kramer retired.

Since then, Fire Chief Chuck Osterman has filled in on an interim basis.

Vice Mayor Carole Young advocated hiring Dougherty Tuesday night and the measure passed 6-0. Councilwoman Erin Cochran was excused from Tuesday's meeting.