PEOSTA, Iowa — The City of Peosta will soon have a new city administrator.
Peosta City Council members voted, 5-0, on Tuesday to hire Annette Ernst as their next city administrator. She will replace Whitney Baethke, who resigned after announcing plans to move to the Des Moines area.
Ernst will be Peosta’s second city administrator since the city created the position in 2018. Mayor Jim Merten said that after learning of Baethke’s departure, he and other council members agreed that the city wanted to continue having a city administrator.
“It was a very short conversation,” Merten said. “Whitney clearly demonstrated to us the value of the city administrator position.”
The city hired Callahan Municipal Consultants for $10,800 to assist in the process of finding a new city administrator.
Ernst currently works as the village administrator for the Village of Coal Valley, Ill., a position she has held since 2016. Prior to that, she served as economic development director for the Village of Milan, Ill.
Peosta City Council members agreed to pay her an annual salary of $100,000 with a $5,000 sign-on bonus. She is expected to start with the city on June 15, Merten said. Doug Herman, the city’s attorney, is acting as interim city administrator until Ernst assumes her new role.
During the City Council meeting, Ernst expressed her gratitude for being hired.
“Thank you so much,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ernst declined to comment when reached by the Telegraph Herald ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.
City leaders spoke highly of Ernst as the best candidate for the city. Merten said the city narrowed down a pool of 16 applicants to five top candidates, and Ernst emerged as the one with the most expertise to advance the city’s growth.
“She’s got great economic development experience,” Merten said. “She is the best candidate to support Peosta’s amazing trajectory.”
City Council Member Gerry Hess said he was also impressed by Ernst’s experience in city administration.
“She was the clear number one to begin with,” Hess said. “Her overall experience showed she had all the irons in the fire.”