BOONE, Iowa—The Boone City Council made it official this week. The city will have a City Engineer once again. It’s been a number of years since the city had it’s own in house engineer. Most recently, the responsibilities were handled through contracted services. Boone Mayor John Slight on the KWBG Tuned In Program, said the council and staff felt there would be cost savings by having their own engineer. He pointed out that the city would still need to contract for some services, but it was felt that an in house engineer would translate to an immediate $20,000 savings. A search was conducted, candidates were reviewed and two went through the interview process. Slight’s committee than recommended the Council consider approving an employment agreement with Wayne Schwartz, the current contracted engineer for Foth Engineering
Schwartz’ starting salary will be $69,000. The Council approved an agreement that has two proposed increases of 2.9% in six months and 12 months. Also included will be a $200 car allowance, two weeks vacation and a Smartphone under the City Plan. The employment agreement also waived the residency requirement for the engineer, but did set conditions to deal with availability. Council member Fenner Stevenson has consistently raised his concern about residency issues. He opposed that portion of the agreement, but still voted to support the hiring of Schwartz. Likewise, Council member Nick Mallas expressed his opposition to the proposed raises after six and twelve months, but he also voted to approve the hiring of Schwartz.
Wayne Schwartz has been the city’s contracted engineer with Foth since October 2008. By the time notice is given to cancel the contract, he will have five-years history with the city. The salary will be divided up between a number of departments that use engineering services. Slight noted that having an engineer in house does not mean the city won’t be using other engineering services from firms like Foth. It’s felt that eventually some of that work will be done in house and that will increase savings for the city.