Former city engineer Dan Rahn said even though he left the firm he worked for three years, he wants aldermen to know that he would still like to provide engineering services for the city of Pacific.
Rahn served as city engineer from 2011 to October of this year, including three years as a city employee and three years as an employee with 21 Design Group.
As both a city employee and contract engineer he served as the city’s flood plain manager.
In October, Rahn was offered a position to open and manage an office for Engineering Surveying Services (ESS) in the city of Wildwood.
Speaking at the Dec. 19 board meeting, Rahn told aldermen he had sent a proposal to the city six weeks ago asking that ESS be considered as the city’s engineering firm, but his proposal had not been presented to the board of aldermen.
“I’m coming before you offering to provide these services for Pacific,” he said. “I’m requesting approval of a contract between the city and ESS.”
Rahn said he’s familiar with all city projects and believes the relationship has worked well.
The presentation triggered a lengthy discussion on the process of selecting and contracting with firms to provide engineering for the city.
The city has an existing contract with Rahn’s former employer, 21 Design Group, as the city engineer through the end of this year. The city also contracts with other engineering firms to provide services for specific projects.
The city could continue the 21 Design Group contract if it chooses, but has the option to terminate that contract, according to City Attorney Robert Jones.
Aldermen questioned whether or not Rahn’s proposal was being considered and why board members, who must approve contracts, were not made aware that Rahn wanted to continue to work for the city.
Alderman Mike Pigg asked whether anyone from the city had been in talks with Rahn to keep his services for the city and Alderman Andy Nemeth asked whether there are any ongoing negotiations to keep Rahn as the city engineer.
“It’s concerning to me that we find out through an agenda item,” Nemeth said. “It’s almost like something shady is going on that we find this out tonight when he comes before us.”
Mayor Jeff Palmore said the city currently has a contract with 21 Design Group and has made no plans to change.
Aldermen Carol Johnson questioned why Rahn’s proposal had not been forwarded to aldermen. She said she’s concerned that aldermen had not been asked to take action on the request.
Johnson also noted that when Rahn left the position as city engineer, he also left the position as flood plain manager.
“We didn’t know Dan presented a proposal.” she said. “We should take him into consideration. We need to consider this as a board.”
Johnson said in past practices, the board of aldermen has been in the loop on issues such as selecting a city engineer.
Rahn said his visit was simply to ask aldermen to consider his proposal.
“I just wanted aldermen to know that I don’t have a contractual relationship with the city and I would like to continue that,” Rahn said.
City Administrator Steve Roth said he had planned to ask aldermen to approve hiring Rahn to assist with a planned flood buyout application because Rahn is familiar with the process.
Roth said he could not fill out the application by himself.
“We have to have consultant service. 21 Design Group could do it, but they have no experience in this type of work. Dan Rahn helped us previously and I suggest he be engaged for this purpose,” Roth said.
The board approved contracting with ESS to use Rahn’s services for the HMGP application. Aldermen said selection of a city engineer would be addressed in January.