The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Archive for May 8th, 2008|Daily archive page

Prosser will ask council to approve new police chief on Wednesday; one finalist in the hunt in Kalamazoo, too

In City Hall, Police Department on May 8, 2008 at 11:51 pm

City Manager Jim Prosser on Thursday said he anticipates selecting the city’s new police chief from four finalist candidates early next week and asking City Council approval of his selection at the council’s Wednesday evening meeting.

The drama in the selection process is whether Prosser is going to select one of the two outside, out-of-state candidates or one of the two candidates who are current Cedar Rapids police captains.

The finalists are Kenneth Greg Graham, 46, deputy police chief in Ocala, Fla.; Jeff Hadley, 37, police captain in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Steve O’Konek, 46, and Bernie Walther, 47, Cedar Rapids police captains.

Meanwhile, the blog, Fort Wayne Observed, reported Thursday evening that Hadley also is a finalist for public safety chief in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Graham had been a finalist in January to become chief in Bellevue, Wash., but city officials there picked a local candidate.

After a first round of interviews in Cedar Rapids of seven candidates, the city’s Civil Service Commission determined that five of the seven were qualified to be the Cedar Rapids chief. The commission ranked the five, with O’Konek first, Graham, second, Hadley, third, Capt. Joseph D’Agostino, 49, of the Port St. Lucie, Fla., fourth, and Walther, fifth.

D’Agostino withdrew after a second round of interviews with City Manager Jim Prosser, Mo Sheronick, assistant city attorney, and Conni Huber, the city’s human resources director.

Prosser makes the final selection with the approval of the City Council.

The new chief replaces Mike Klappholz, who retired in March.

During the first interviews, Sheronick noted that the Cedar Rapids department has not had a chief from outside its ranks for more than 30 years.

Earlier this year, a consultant helping the city find a new chief, the Police Executive Research Forum, Washington, D.C., said most times a chief comes from outside a department when it is called into help in a police chief search.

Videotapes of the first round of interviews can be found at



Next week is Bike-to-Work week: Get ready to ride with council members Podzimek, Fagan, Shey

In Brian Fagan, City Hall, Pat Shey, Tom Podzimek on May 8, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Council members Tom Podzimek, Brian Fagan and Pat Shey are celebrating National Bike-to-Work Week on Monday by taking a bike ride by some of the city’s major employers.

Join them at 6:30 a.m. Monday at Greene Square Park downtown, Podzimek says.

The three will ride south on the Cedar River Trail to C Street SW, and head south on C Street SW out to AEGONUSA’s south campus and Kirkwood Community College and then back into town.

“I’ll be thrilled if we get 20 people to join us,” Podzimek says.

At the same time, he told his council colleagues this week that he was a little disheartened when he got to the BikeIowa Web site — — this week to register the city of Cedar Rapids’ Monday morning event  only to find that other Iowa cities already had registered with a number of employees.

Employees can go to the Website to register their employer or sign up if their employer already is on the list.

The good news, AEGONUSA was leading the list as of Thursday afternoon, with 78 employees signed up to participate in Ride-to-Work Week. The University of Iowa has 27 employees and Rockwell Collins, 17, ready to participate.

Podzimek also wants the City Council to commit to winning for Cedar Rapids the designation of “bike-friendly city.” The designation, awarded by the League of American Bicyclists, requires work, new policies and some spending to create identifiable bike routes and other bicycling features, he says.

“It’s definitely doable,” Podzimek says.