By PETER HUSSMANN
Newton city officials shortly after noon provided the names of two of the three individuals interviewed by council members last weekend as finalists for the open city administrator position, a day after denying to provide that information when requested by the Newton Independent.
Community Development Director/Interim City Administrator Bryan Friedman sent an email to the Newton Independent at 12:12 p.m. stating that the "field of current applicants has been narrowed to two; Robert Knabel of Collinsville, Ill., and David Van Dee of Lake Ozark, Mo."
"Both of these candidates have extensive experience as city administrators," the email announcing the remaining two applicants states.
On Saturday, council members interviewed Knabel and Van Dee, along with another unnamed applicant. On Friday of last week, the candidates for the city's top posts met with representatives of organizations receiving city funding.
Friedman's email states the council plans to have additional interviews with them in the near future. No date has been set to have a new administrator hired, the message states.
An news article in the Suburban Journals in November 2011 indicates Knabel resigned from his position with the community he held since 2006. He was paid $93,790 to leave the post he held for more than five years. And a few months before his departure and over his objections, Collinsville City Council members voted to make wearing saggy pants punishable by a fine. The Illinois Municipal League featured Knabel's leadership efforts in this article. He was a finalist for the Carbondale, Ill., city manager position in December 2011.
In August 2010, an article from the Lake News indicated Lake Ozark city officials were planning to hold a special meeting to consider terminating Van Dee's contract, a decision they then rescinded. A year ago, he was one of six finalists for the Knoxville, Iowa city manager position. He previously held city manager posts in Dyersville and Hiawatha. Iowa State Auditor Dave Vaudt conducted a reaudit of the City of Dyersville while Van Dee was administrator in 2003 after being petitioned by local residents to do so. The report can be read here. He left for the positon in Hiawatha shortly thereafter. And here's Q and A with Van Dee done by the Lake News shortly after his arrival in Lake Ozark following his time in Hiawatha.