North Liberty City Council approves police chief's resignation agreement

Search for new chief likely to be done internally, though consultant may also be used

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The North Liberty City Council approved a resignation agreement between the city and former police Chief Jim Warkentin Tuesday night.

In a unanimous vote, the council  passed an agreement that would pay Warkentin a $37,647 lump sum and extend his benefits through March 31. The agreement also contains a clause that keeps the terms of his employment confidential, and prevents him from filing any legal claims against the city regarding his employment. He signed the agreement Feb. 6.

Though there was no discussion of the resignation agreement during the meeting, Mayor Tom Salm thanked Warkentin for his service.

"I would just say we appreciate his service and wish him good endeavors in the future," Salm said.

The vote comes just one week after Mayor Tom Salm confirmed that Warkentin, who worked for the department for over 13 years, was no longer employed by the city. Though the city initially declined to comment further on the circumstances regarding Warkentin's employment, the city council later released a joint statement that thanked Warkentin for his service.

Warkentin initially declined comment regarding his resignation when approached at his home, by shaking his head and nodding through a window, but released a statement Feb. 6 through the city council citing personal reasons for his resignation.

“For personal reasons, I have resigned as chief of police effective February 1, 2013,” Warkentin said in the statement. “I want to thank the community for its support throughout the years, and I want to thank the City and the staff with whom I have had the pleasure to work.”

Warkentin was hired by the city of North Liberty as its first police officer in August 1999. His resignation was effective Feb. 4 and his most recent salary was $86,361,60.

North Liberty city administrator Ryan Heiar said city officials hope to begin the process of finding a new police chief by the end of the month.

"We will do a search," Heiar said. "We have not discussed any details yet and it will probably be done internally, though we may hire a consultant."

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