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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Whitaker to leave Pleasanton's top post at the end of June

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

In a move that surprised many, Pleasanton City Administrator Teresa Whitaker submitted a letter of resignation to the city council on Monday, March 20. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PLEASANTON – No one on the Pleasanton City Council saw it coming.

Council members went into two closed-door sessions for a total of 15 minutes on Monday, March 20, to discuss a potential property purchase. They added another five minutes behind doors to discuss trade secrets of a partnership.

City Administrator Teresa Whitaker then asked the council for another 10-minute executive session, this time to discuss “employee performance.”

This time, though, when the council emerged from the separate meeting room, Mayor Mike Frisbie held a resignation letter from Whitaker in his hand.

Seeming somewhat at a loss by the resignation, Frisbie questioned what the council should do.

City Attorney Burton Harding advised that the council did not need to act to accept the resignation right away.

Whitaker intends to remain on the job through June 30.

While she was vague about her plans after June, she said after the meeting that the resignation was her decision to “shift my priorities.”

While the council discussed whether to advertise for someone to fill the position, Whitaker said that there was already a person on staff who could step in “in the bat of an eye.”

She was referring to Becky Hegwald, who was hired as city clerk last September to fill a post that was suddenly open.

Hegwald has 22 years of experience as the city clerk for Yates Center, Kan., and was assistant city clerk for that city before that. She is the spouse of Linn County Fire Chief Randy Hegwald, and she also serves as a volunteer firefighter.

Whitaker said Hegwald was more than qualified to take over the position.

She said that if the council wanted to go with her recommendation, it would need to hire a new city clerk and train that person in the time remaining before her departure.

The city administrator said that since Hegwald was hired at the end of September last year, she has been quick to pick up on the workings of the city, adding that she had learned things from the new clerk in the process.

Frisbie asked Harding if the council was required to advertise the position, and Harding said it wasn’t necessary.

However, Councilman Aaron Portman requested that the council set up a time at the next meeting to conduct an interview with Hegwald.

On Tuesday Whitaker said that she had found her work as a public servant to be very enjoyable.

“I got a lot more out of it than I put into it,” she said. She added that she never expected to build the kind of relationships she has made through being the city administrator, and that those relationships have been very valuable to her.

In a preface to his report to the council public works supervisor Joey Morrison said that Whitaker has made being a city employee feel more like being a part of a family.

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