Crestwood city clerk to step down from position in January

City hopes to hire new city clerk around holiday season

By BURKE WASSON

As the city of Crestwood begins to search for its next city clerk, the woman who has filled that position for the past two years is experiencing a variety of emotions as she and her husband prepare to move to South Carolina.

“It’s bittersweet,” City Clerk Kimberly Cottle told the Call. “We’re thrilled and excited. And yet I will miss the residents and I will miss the team here at the city. It’s just great here and it’s been my honor.”

Cottle informed city officials a little more than two weeks ago that she intends to resign from her position in January because her husband, Michael, was hired to minister a new church near Columbia, S.C.

“I would not be leaving were it not for this fantastic opportunity for my husband,” Cottle said.

She originally was hired by the city in 2003 as an administrative secretary. In 2004, Cottle was promoted to the position of city clerk.

As for the search for a new city clerk, City Administrator Frank Myers said the city is seeking candidates from within its own ranks as well as externally.

“We’re going to proceed in the same fashion the city proceeded when they hired Kim,” Myers said. “We’re doing an internal and external search. Kim has given us advance notice so there would be a smooth transition. So we’ve immediately began the recruitment process. And it’s our hope that we will have the position filled during the holiday season or make a hiring decision during the holiday season or just thereafter so there won’t be any gap between her departure and starting a new person.”

Myers said the salary for the new city clerk would range from $47,000 to $49,000 and that any prospective candidates need to have a minimum of two years of municipal experience.

The opening was posted Nov. 17, and Myers said it likely would be advertised on various Web sites.

Regarding Cottle’s pending departure from Crestwood, Myers said he is sorry to see her go and believes the city is losing a valued employee.

“Kim’s done an outstanding job for us,” Myers said. “She served as city clerk during some turbulent moments in the city’s history. And I think she performed exemplary. It’s going to be very big shoes to fill.”

Cottle said she would assist in the search for a new city clerk to ease the transition that will come with her departure.

As for when exactly Cottle will be leaving, she said there is no date set at this time, but that it would be at some point in January.

“I don’t know exactly a date yet, but I wanted to make sure that the city had as much notice as possible so it can be a smooth transition,” she said. “As soon as I know a firm date or a tentatively firm date, I’ll be telling everybody. It’s my desire that the city not have any hardship or down time because of this. So that’s why we are starting the search as quickly as possible.”

Ward 3 Alderman Gregg Roby told the Call that he advocates a “thorough, but quick” search for a new city clerk simply so the new city clerk can learn the job’s duties by spending as much time as possible with Cottle.

“I would hope, and I realize there may be an additional cost to the city, but I think to our benefit, it would be best to have someone come in and work with her for maybe as much as three to four weeks,” Roby said. “There are just so many things Kim did as city clerk. Not just the Board of Aldermen meetings, but, obviously, other issues with regards to her department, the supervision of the people that worked for her, the upcoming election … It’s going to be very important. And Kim was responsible, obviously, for certifying a lot of the documentation that was provided. And therefore, I feel that it’s important that whoever steps in to take her place has adequate opportunity to get up to speed on her duties.”

If the next city clerk is someone from outside the community, Roby said that thorough training would be even more crucial and hopes that the administration anticipates the time needed to learn all of the city’s clerk’s responsibilities.

“Keep in mind, we’ve had a lot of cuts with regards to the work force. And as a result, Kim’s taken on — as has everyone else — additional responsibilities. And I believe that a suitable period of time would be a minimum of a month. So I’m hoping that Frank Myers and (Assistant City Administrator) Justina Tate will make this a very thorough, but quick transition and that they will make sure that whoever is going to replace her has adequate time to learn her duties.

“If we find someone from the outside, not only do they have the county codes and Robert’s Rules (of Order) and city clerk’s responsibilities to learn, they have the city of Crestwood’s issues to come up to speed on.”

Besides talking about their appreciation for Cottle’s job performance, Roby and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe also pointed out that Crestwood is losing not only a valuable city clerk, but also a good person.

“I’m sorry that she is leaving,” Duwe said. “She was really a very good city clerk. And besides a good city clerk, she is a very lovely person.”

Roby also said Cottle was very helpful to the Board of Aldermen and himself — even before he was elected in April.

“Kim has been just an absolute tremendous asset to this board,” he said. “She’s always answered our questions with true professionalism and never showed any ill feelings towards anyone. She’s always been a very resourceful person. Anything we needed, we knew we could call Kim and get that from her. She was especially helpful to me when I was running for the office of alderman and had absolutely no idea what to do. She provided me with all of the basics and all the information necessary to get the paperwork and all of the petitions in a timely manner. So, I hate to see her leave. I really do.

“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen Kim in a bad mood. I mean, she’s always upbeat. As I said, she’s been a very professional person. And that’s going to be, I think, the most difficult thing for this city to duplicate — someone who’s had the dedication and the knowledge of her position. She’s been very knowledgeable of Robert’s Rules and conducting our meetings and has oftentimes put everybody on the straight and narrow when it came to making sure that the meetings were conducted appropriately.”

For now, Myers said he is actively pursuing a search for the next city clerk and hopes he will have a candidate chosen during the holiday season.

“Certainly, Kim did an outstanding job for us,” Myers said. “She is a person of very high integrity. And I appreciate the fact that she came to me with her intent before knowing all the details of her husband’s move. And she’s working with us on a transition.”