BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Police Chief Tim Sittig confirmed this morning to the Pen City Current, that he will be retiring as the city’s chief of police effective May 31.
Sittig started with the police force in late 2016 and has 33 years in police work in Iowa and Missouri and more than two decades as a chief, assistant chief and instructor.
“I haven’t been thinking about it for years, but for the last couple months, I suppose,” Sittig said.
“I started police work in 1986, so I’ve got 33 years plus a couple months in, with 10 years as a chief and 9 or 10 years as an assistant chief. When the door closes behind me, I’m going to spend some time with the granddaughter and then see what comes up.”
Sittig also had a stint teaching criminal justice classes at Des Moines Area Community College. He said depending on logistics and how retirement plays out, he may look at going back to teaching.
Sittig said he doesn’t know what the city’s transition will be.
“I’ve got to the point where I’ve got my time set and I’m working through that process and that would be question for David,” he said.
City Manager David Varley said the decision was not a complete surprise.
“He’s been kicking around the idea for a while,” Varley said. “He’s got other things he’s been thinking about doing so it’s not a complete surprise to me.”
Varley said he’s looking at several options and agencies for interim assistance, including possibly using the Lee County Sheriff’s Department to fill in administratively while the city conducts a search.
Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber wished Sittig the best in his retirement said his department would be willing to help if needed.
“I’ve enjoyed the friendship I’ve developed with Tim and I wish him all the best,” Weber said. “Going forward, we’re here to help any agency in the county that looks to us.”
Varley said the search for a replacement will begin shortly.
“I’m still looking at the options about what to do in the interim. We’ll start fairly soon looking for a new police chief. It wont’ be in the next week or anything, but within the month will begin the process,” Varley said.
“There may be a temporary assignment to hold us over until we get a new police chief in place. Obviously it takes three, four, five months sometimes to find somebody and do that search. But we’ll do the best we can as fast as we can.”
He said he’s also considering on whether or not he will do the search or if the city will hire a company.
“We don’t have a plan finalized yet and we’ll let that out as soon as we have a final decision on that,” he said.
In a release this morning from Varley’s office, he wrote the city thanked Sittig for his service.
“The City thanks Chief Sittig for the service he has provided to the Police Department and the Fort Madison community. We wish him the best in his retirement and future endeavors.”
Mayor Brad Randolph also expressed thanks to Sittig and said Varley will be entrusted to keep the department running smoothly.
“I have an understanding the chief has elected to retire from the department and I haven’t had a chance to go over the options with City Manager,” Randolph said this morning.
“Until I have a chance to do that, I’m going to count on him to make sure the operations in the department run as smoothly as if the chief wasn’t leaving. We wish Tim the best in his retirement and I’m looking forward to new possibilities with the department.”