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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims

Pleasanton council hires new city clerk following resignation

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Pleasanton City Administrator Teresa Whitaker, left, administers the oath of office to new City Clerk Becky Hegwald on Monday, Sept. 26. Hegwald resigned her previous job – city clerk for the City of Yates Center, Kan., just days before accepting the job at Pleasanton. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PLEASANTON – Pleasanton City Administrator Teresa Whitaker had a request early in the Pleasanton City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 26. It was to move to the top of the agenda one of the new business items. That item was to approve Becky Hegwald as the new city clerk.

The council quickly and unanimously voted Hegwald into office with a salary of $19.50 an hour, and after taking the oath of office, Hegwald took her place at the clerk’s desk and began recording the minutes of the meeting.

Hegwald, who is the spouse of Randy Hegwald, Linn County fire chief and emergency management director, replaced April Umphenour, who abruptly resigned during the council’s Sept. 12 meeting.

Becky Hegwald comes to the job with plenty of experience. Until the previous week, she was the city clerk for the City of Yates Center, a job she held for about 22 years. Before that she was the Yates Center deputy city clerk for 20 years.

In a separate conversation following Monday’s meeting, Whitaker said she was fortunate that Hegwald was looking to find a position in the area and Hegwald would be able to quickly do well as city clerk.

Hegwald said that since her husband was hired by the county in June, the couple had split living arrangements between the two counties.

In her report to the council on Monday, Whitaker said that the city had been asked by Chase Carpenter to raze the former Carpenter Chiropractic Health Center at 714 Main St. that was gutted by fire in July. She said the city did not have the equipment to demolish the building because of the large steel support beams used in its construction.

She also asked that the council authorize her to sign lease-purchase agreements to purchase a police car for the city. The council has approved purchasing two new police cars from an Independence, Mo., dealer, but demand for them is so high that by the time she can make a request of the council, they are already sold. The council voted later in the meeting to give her that authority.

The council also approved a revised version of the food truck application.The application sets the fee for food truck sales on city property at $150 per year and sales off city property at $100 annually. For short-term sales, the fee is $10 a day for the first two days and a flat fee of $30 for three to 10 days. More than 10 days requires purchasing an annual permit.

Food trucks can use a commuter parking lot east of Clinch Realty and Dollar General on Holly Street for sales. Food trucks parked on private property just need the property owner’s permission to operate there.

City Attorney Burton Harding said that whether a food truck operator was on private property or public property, a license was necessary. The license application also requires the operator to carry a $1 million personal liability insurance policy.

In other business, the council:

• Discussed briefly a city code that prevents using the ground floor of two-story commercial buildings on Main Street as a residence unless it is grandfathered in because it was in use prior to the code being adopted. If the building does not have a second floor, there must be a separate entrance in the back of the building if it is to be used as a residence. Whitaker said that a case about that was on the docket for the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission next meeting.

• Heard Council Member Jake Mattingley complain about inaccurate postings on Facebook about the fire that gutted the Carpenter Chiropractic clinic. He also had issue with a former city codes officer’s post on Facebook. Whitaker after the meeting said that Sandy Atkisson, former codes officer, had resigned her post. During the meeting Whitaker complimented Atkisson’s work as codes officer saying she was one of the best.

• Learned that, because of too much time off from law enforcement academy course because of illness, new Officer Mason Roberts, who was sworn in on Aug. 1, will likely have to restart academy training during the next round. Following the firing of Officer Austin Pennington at the Sept. 12 meeting, allegedly for conduct unbecoming a police officer, Police Chief Tristan Snyder is the sole officer on duty for the city. Roberts will return to work in the city if he has to drop out of the academy in the current round of training, but he will still not be certified and as such will not be able to patrol on his own. Snyder said he has interviews with four candidates for the now two open officer positions, one of which is already certified and has 17 years of experience.

• Learned from Whitaker that roaming dogs have become a problem. With the resignation of Atkisson several weeks ago as part-time animal control officer, the duties of that position have fallen to the police department. While the city can’t catch all of the dogs that are loose, most of the dogs that are put in the city pound have either bitten someone or have been picked up because they are a nuisance. Whitaker said that dogs that are put in the pound are euthanized after three days. She added that one of dogs currently in the pound is a perfectly healthy puppy that will have to be euthanized. “I really wish people would take care of their dogs,” she said.

• Learn from Public Works Supervisor Joey Morrisey that the lightning that struck on or near the water tower a few weeks ago likely damaged a booster pump in the plants. He said it would cost about $600 to have a company come to check it. He said that any damage caused would likely be covered by insurance.

• Discussed opening and managing bank accounts for the Pleasanton Youth Flag Football, Pleasanton Bitty Ball League, the Pleasanton Ball Association, the City of Pleasanton Angel Tree Project and Pleasanton Youth Volleyball. Whitaker said that often when children outgrow a ball association, their parents who are in charge of those organizations and have opened accounts to pay for expenses close the accounts and move on. Having the city manage the accounts will provide continuity, she said.

• Voted to allow Blue Dog Wine Co. of La Cygne to sell wine at the General Pleasonton Days street dance on Friday night and rodeo on Saturday night.

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