Under new agreement, resource officer will be paid by hour instead of splitting salary package.
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – An agreement between the city and Fort Madison School District was amended Tuesday night to redefine the roll of the district’s School Resource Officer.
The city and the school district entered into a 3-year agreement in 2019 to provide a full-time experienced officer on school property during all student contact days. That agreement provided an equal sharing of wages and benefits between the city and the school district.
According to a letter from Police Chief Mark Rohloff and City Manager David Varley to the Fort Madison City Council, up until now staffing shortages have resulted in the department not being “able to adequately fulfill this role”.
Rohloff said the mayor tasked him with finding additional resources from the district to help support the position.
“Once that funding benchmark was met, he was agreeable to allowing us to backfill that position at a net zero addition to the budget,” Rohloff told the council.
The new agreement will have the district helping cover officer support costs, and changes the cost-sharing to a pro-rata system based on actual hours worked.
“It looks like a good investment all around,” Rohloff said. “It helps us insure the position will be filled because obviously if we don’t have boots on the ground at the school, so to speak, we don’t get the funding. So that’s our incentive.”
He said the department plans on committing an officer already on staff to fill that position, and then he would backfill that position at either an entry level or lateral position.
“The city is also taking the position of offering incentives to new hires because we found we are paying money for schooling or offering cash for lateral positions,” Rohloff said.
“The labor pool is very small and it is very competitive.”
Mayor Matt Mohrfeld complimented Rohloff on negotiating the amended deal with the school district.
“You’ve opened up a channel of communication for an equitable financial agreement. Everything you were charged with you’ve done, and done a great job,” Mohrfeld said.
In an unrelated issue, Mohrfeld informed the council that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing a procedure in the next few weeks to have the prostate removed.
In other action, the council:
• approved the remainding of base material bids for the Riverview Marina Dredging project, a precursor to the new marina project in the amount of $629,000.
• approved a $23,000 change order to the GRHS-FMCH Community Health Foundation P.O.R.T trail project from the high school to Rodeo Park.