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

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Raises for some City Hall top dogs are not AIG-like bonuses in tough times; they’re ‘reorganizational improvements’ to achieve ‘internal pay equity’

In City Hall, Jim Prosser on March 31, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Calls had been made.

Comparisons were being drawn both by employees in city government and skeptics outside of city government.

Why, the question was, are a few top city employees getting hefty pay hikes even as the 400 or so city employees not represented by bargaining units are seeing their typical annual longevity pay increase eliminated for the budget year beginning July 1.

Isn’t it, callers suggested, kind of a little like the American International Group executives who pocketed million-dollar bonuses even as the economy had soured and the federal government repeatedly had bailed the insurance company out to the tune of tens of billions of dollars?

Apparently, comments and questions similar to this settled in at City Hall, from where late Tuesday afternoon a press release emerged to explain salary increases for three of the city’s eight department directors.

Conni Huber, the city’s human resources director, has received a $13,208 raise, bringing her annual salary to $96,720. That’s a 15.8 percent raise.

Christine Butterfield, director of the Department of Community Development, has received a $10,150 pay hike bringing her salary to $109,304. That’s a 10.2 percent increase.

Pat Ball, the city’s utilities director, has received a $3,057 raise, bringing his salary to $126,588. That’s a 2.5 percent raise.

City Manager Jim Prosser said the salary adjustments were done to establish “internal pay equity” among the city’s eight department directors.

The other directors’ salaries remain the same:

Dave Elgin, public works, and Police Chief Greg Graham earn what Ball now earns, $126,588 a year.

Casey Drew, finance director, and Julie Sina, parks and recreation director, earn what Butterfield now earns, $109,304 a year.

Fire Chief Steve Havlik earns $114,774 a year.

In Tuesday’s news release, Prosser said his staff surveyed the compensation rates of department heads in 23 cities to see where the city of Cedar Rapids fit. Only Elgin’s salary is higher than the median salary of like positions in the 23 other cities.

According to the city’s data:

Ball makes $4,119 less than the median salary for utilities directors.

Butterfield makes $16,292 less than the median salary for development directors.

Drew makes $19,696 less than the median salary for finance directors.

Elgin makes $992 more than the median salary for public works directors.

Graham makes $2,864 less than the median salary for police chiefs.

Havlik makes $$14,226 less than the median salary for fire chiefs.

Huber makes $27,924 less than the median salary for human resources directors.

Sina makes $17,994 less than the median salary for parks/recreation directors.

Prosser noted that the city’s proposed new budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will not include longevity pay increases for these eight department directors just as it won’t for the 400 or so other city employees eligible for them and not represented by a bargaining unit.

FEMA’s infrastructure director for Iowa says to expect slow-go on flood-damaged City Hall: ‘You eat an elephant one bite at a time,’ he says

In City Hall, FEMA, Floods on March 31, 2009 at 9:54 am

There is no panic to fix the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall on May’s Island in the Cedar River as far as the Federal Emergency Management Agency is concerned, says Chuck Chaffins, FEMA infrastructure branch director for Iowa.

FEMA and the city, Chaffins says, continue to negotiate the amount of flood damage to the building, which the city has said is in the $20-million-plus ball park. The State of Iowa Historic Preservation Office is involved in the damage assessments, too.

FEMA can extend the deadline to complete renovation work to 48 months, though Chaffins calls the 4-year-point a “line in the sand” in which FEMA expects to the city to have a big renovation project like that at the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall complete.

“We want work to get underway, but we’re not looking at the watch,” he says.

Chaffins says one key determination has been made: Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall sits outside the city’s 100-year flood plain. This will save the city $1 million, he says. It is the $1 million in deductible liability that the city would have had to subtract from FEMA’s grant to fix City Hall if the building, in fact, was in the 100-year flood plain.

Chaffins says he has not seen one piece of paper cross his desk that would indicate that the City Council, the city manager or anyone else with the city intends to try to use FEMA repair money intended for the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall to build a different city building somewhere else.

The historical standing of City Hall will make it difficult to convince the State of Iowa’s Historic Preservation Office that FEMA funds should not be used to restore the building at least to its pre-flood condition, he says.

Chaffins has been in Iowa 13 months out of the last two years for FEMA, and he is now leaving and returning to the FEMA office in Kansas City.

He says he’s taken a particular interest in two flood-damaged city properties: the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall, which he calls “a pretty serious building” because of its ties to veterans; and the Paramount Theatre, which he calls an “amazing building” with a flood-damaged organ he calls an “amazing instrument.”

Both buildings have sustained more than $20 million in damage, according to estimates provided by the city.
Chaffins calls both buildings historical, cultural attractions, and he says that the complications associated with that standing do not permit “a fast process.”

“It is not a simple process and you as a taxpayer do not want it to be a simple process,” Chaffins says of the repair of such important buildings. FEMA, he adds, doesn’t want to give the appearance of “ramming anything down anybody’s throat.”

Even so, he says much of the responsibility rests on the city, which must provide plans for repairs.

“The city is going to have to commit to a plan of action,” he says.

“But they have an old saying where I’m from: ‘It is what it is and it’s going to take as long as it takes,’’’ Chaffins says. “And there’s another saying where I’m from: ‘What do you do when you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time. Just like you eat anything else.’”

Chaffins hails from eastern Kentucky.

From 71 applicants, nine are chosen: City Council names Local-Option Sales Tax Oversight Committee

In City Hall, local-option sales tax on March 30, 2009 at 6:16 pm

The City Council on Monday named the nine members of the city’s Local-Option Sales Tax Oversight Committee, a group picked from 71 who had applied for the job.

The members are Markell Kuper, Elizabeth Hladky, Heather Schoonover, Charles Watkins, Jeff Palmer, Sandra Skelton, Gary Ficken, Jeffery Beer and Stephen Hammes.

The council will formerly appoint the committee members at its weekly Wednesday meeting, which falls on April 1, the day the one-percent local-option sales tax starts to be collected in the city.

The tax will be in place through June 30, 2014, and is expected to raise between $17 and $18 million a year for the city.

The oversight committee’s mission is to review how the council spends the tax revenue to make sure it is in accord with the March 3 referendum that put the tax in place.

Ninety percent of the money is to go to flood relief, and more specifically, to housing buyouts and rehabilitation. Ten percent is to be used for property-tax relief.

Ficken, a local business owner, led the citizen campaign, Vote Yes! For Our Neighbors, that promoted the local-option sales tax. Hammes, an accountant, led the city’s Twin Pines Golf Course Task Force that recommended in 2008 that the city not sell 20 acres of the 150-acre course for a commercial development.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s the police chief; just ask The Tycoon tavern

In City Hall, Police Department on March 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

The Tycoon tavern in downtown Cedar Rapids has been tangling with the Police Department of late.
Part of it is timing: The liquor establishment at 427 Second Ave. SE needed to renew its liquor license just as still-new Police Chief Greg Graham has decided to knuckle down on taverns that generate too many police calls.

The Tycoon erred, firstly, by not filing for the license renewal in a timely fashion. The city rule is that an establishment needs to make an application at least 30 days in advance to give the city regulators and, most importantly, the Police Department enough time to review the renewal application.

The Tycoon did succeed two weeks ago in getting the City Council to make an exception and put the tavern’s expedited request for a license renewal on the council agenda for discussion.

In the council discussion, though, Police Chief Greg Graham unveiled his new thinking about taverns in need of an alcohol license that also are in the habit of attracting police officers to their establishments.

Upon hearing that police were called to the bar 17 times this year — and the bar was open only a couple evenings a week — the council denied The Tycoon any special treatment. The bar closed — including for the nice revenue-producing day of St. Patrick’s Day — for a couple weeks until the Police Department could review the tavern’s license in the timeline set out in city policy.

The review is complete and The Tycoon now is open under what the Police Department calls a six-month probationary license.

The conditions of probation are … well, they are designed to modify behavior.

For instance:

The Tycoon must pay $2,875 to the city for the 23 hours of investigative work required by the Police Department to determine that The Tycoon didn’t deserve a new liquor license because of the number of police calls to its establishments. That’s 23 hours at $125 per hour.

The Tycoon must have an “adequate number of appropriately trained personnel,” as approve by the Police Department, at all times. The staff should wear identifying shirts that say staff or security. This staff is there to check identifications, to make sure fire-code occupancy limits are followed, to prevent serving people already drunk and to prevent loitering outside the establishment.

The Tycoon should consider a dress code, a cover charge and the use of an electronic metal detector.

The Tycoon shall implement an action plan to immediately reduce the number of police calls for fight, disturbances, assaults, weapons, intoxication, drugs and public urination.

Within six months, The Tycoon will seek to reduce the number of police calls to the tavern to no more than one a week.

During the first month of reopening, the Police Department will bill The Tycoon $125 an hour for any police call over two a week, and after the first month, The Tycoon shall pay $125 an hour for any call over one a week.

The tavern also will pay a $63 “prisoner cost” for each arrest made at the bar.

Police Lt. Tom Jonker told the City Council last week that The Tycoon’s owner, Tim Bushaw, had agreed to work with the Police Department to reduce police calls to the tavern in exchange for a new probationary liquor license.

“The chief is adamant,” Jonker said on Monday. “It’s a privilege not a right to sell alcoholic beverages, and you need to be a good business person and do the right thing and fix errors and correct things that are wrong.”

On April 8, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the liquor license at Brick’s, a downtown bar down Second Avenue SE from The Tycoon. The Police Department is recommending that a new license be denied to Brick’s.

Some say ‘no vouchers next to me;’ city official reminds that voucher safety net gives 2,453 ‘very low-income’ decent housing

In City Hall on March 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

It’s easy to paint a less-than-pretty picture of the poor.

Much of that has gone on in recent months in and around City Hall as the owners of single-family homes and condominiums have turned out to object to proposals to build new “affordable” housing developments with substantial help from federal tax incentives to replace housing lost to the June 2008 flood.

One objecting neighbor who referred to “those” people didn’t win fans among some on the City Planning Commission.
The developers and supporters of the affordable projects can sound kind of similar. They spend much time noting that affordable housing is really “work force” housing and that people who live in those rental units typically have jobs.

Affordable housing is different, the proponents take pains to point out, than the federal government’s housing “voucher” program.

It is different. But sometimes, one objecting neighbor pointed out at a recent Planning Commission meeting, managers of affordable housing complexes let those with vouchers rent from them. …

Once a year, Scott Seibert, the city’s housing services manager, comes before the City Council to talk about the voucher program as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Seibert was on hand last Wednesday evening to provide the latest update on the federal program that he said provides a vital assist to allow very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to rent decent, private-market housing.

At the same time, the Cedar Rapids voucher program provides $4.4 million a year in rent assistance payments that go to the metro area’s landlords, he noted to the council.

Seibert reported:

Currently, 1,055 households and 2,453 people in them currently are living in rental property using vouchers in Cedar Rapids, the metro area and elsewhere in Linn and Benton counties.

Eighty percent of the heads of those households are female (down from 86 percent a year ago); 45 percent of the households consist of a single person, some of whom are elderly or disabled; 37 percent of the households have someone bringing home income; and 89.6 percent have annual household income under $20,000 a year.

Those in the program pay, on average, $201 a month in rent.

The voucher program aims to de-concentrate poverty by encouraging landlords from every area of the city, metro area and Linn and Benton counties to participate in the program.

In 2008, 178 vouchers were used in southeast Cedar Rapids; 305 in northeast Cedar Rapids; 303 in southwest Cedar Rapids; 74 in northwest Cedar Rapids; 120 in Marion; and 36 in Hiawatha.

Seibert told the City Council that 155 households are participating in a part of the program called “family self-sufficiency,” which provides some assistance to help households get out of the voucher program. In the last year, 24 succeeded in moving off the voucher program, 13 others no longer need support from welfare payments and two purchased homes, Seibert reported.

One young mother in the program told the council that the voucher assistance has provided the stability she needed to finish her college studies and a disabled woman said the voucher program had been a lifesaver for her.

Updates on waste water sludge, municipal garbage: farmers will miss the sludge; horizon still holds the dream of burning sludge/garbage to produce energy

In Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, City Hall, FEMA, Floods on March 28, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Greg Eyerly, the city’s utilities operations manager, wasn’t sitting on a bar stool drinking mai tais a 6 o’clock Friday evening.

No, he was gushingly talking about the $1.8-million fix of the flood-damaged incinerator at the city’s waste water treatment plant on Bertram Road SE near Highway 13. It’s an emergency fix, an interim repair, paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief funds. The repair is expected to hold the fort for three to five years as the city studies what is to come next.

Getting the incinerator up and running will have two significant ramifications: The city will no longer need to truck any of its biosolid sludge to a landfill in Illinois at great expense. And it will not need to use its best option, applying the sludge as fertilizer to farm fields, nearly as much.

Eyerly says the city likely will always put some of the sludge on farm fields during times in which the incinerator is down for maintenance. Farmers, by the way, have stood in line to get the stuff, 200 semi-truck loads or 100 tons of which the waste water plant produces each day. Land application, though, comes with uncertainty, Eyerly says. In fact, the city has had to stockpile the sludge in various spots out in the country this winter for use when fields are suitable for working.

Eyerly reports that the city continues to move ahead with plans to study the feasibility of burning sewage sludge and municipal waste to produce energy. The City Council has approved a $1-million study of the issue.

The waste-to-energy idea, in fact, has been much in the news in Cedar Rapids as local elected officials and community leaders imagine what might come to the rescue of the flood-wrecked steam system that had inexpensively served the downtown, Quaker and Cargill and other industries near downtown, the hospitals and Coe College before the June 2008 flood.

At last report, the city’s lobbyists were trucking a plan to build a $200-million waste-to-energy plan around Congress while city leaders also were working the Iowa Legislature for money.

No one has said much about either for some weeks.

Meanwhile, St. Luke’s Hospital and Coe College have one plan and Mercy Medical Center its own plan to find federal money to build their own steam systems.

At the same time, too, the city of Marion, armed with a state grant, has embarked on a $150,000 study of a waste-to-energy technology called plasma arc. A Marion-centered group of enthusiasts called WasteNotIowa have been promoting plasma arc for five or so years, ever since the local solid waste agency proposed and then did expand its landfill on the edge of Marion.

The second piece of waste news is coming from the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency and that Site 2 landfill.

Karmin McShane, the agency’s director, this week reported that the agency has taken initial steps to tap methane gas from the closed cells at the landfill to produce electricity.

Building the system of pipes and generators will provide electricity for the equivalent of 1,800 homes. Revenue from electricity will pay off the investment needed to set up the system in five years, McShane says.

Council pushes back a bit against vocal neighborhood leaders; nice drama unfolding between grass roots and City Hall on neighborhood flood recovery

In City Hall, Neighborhoods on March 27, 2009 at 11:55 am

The outspoken leaders in three neighborhoods hit by the June flood haven’t been the least bit bashful at letting the City Council know what it is doing wrong with the city’s flood recovery.

This week, those leaders – Michael Richards in Oak Hill/Jackson, Frank King in Time Check and Greg Stokesberry wit South West Area Neighbors — got some push back from the City Council.

The three neighborhood presidents had pitched proposals for the council to consider among 19 others as the council decided how to divide up $10,160,406 in special state funds as part of a new state Community Disaster Grant program.

Stokesberry was seeking $41,500 to help in the development of his neighborhood’s association. And all three presidents – aligned in a newly-created umbrella association called River Neighborhoods Alliance — were seeking $37,000 to create a new program called “Once-a-Neighbor Always-a-Neighbor” and $100,000 to create a peer advocacy center. Dianne Yanda, president of the Cedar Valley Neighborhood Association, also is listed as a member of the new neighborhood alliance.

In short, they didn’t get their money.

A council consensus converged around the thought that another of the proposals before the council, which did not come from this group of neighborhood leaders, was for a $100,000 grant to help with neighborhood organizational development. This proposal called for working with flood-impacted neighborhoods to strengthen their community connections and to advocate for their needs.

The council decided that the neighborhood organizations could work with the city to best figure out how to spend the $100,000.

Council member Justin Shields put it most bluntly when he said from what he could see there has been quite a bit of “disarray” among neighborhood associations and the arrival of some new faces on the scene as well.
“It’s a poor time to just start throwing money at them,” Shields said.

Council member Jerry McGrane, a member of the Oak Hill/Jackson Neighborhood Association and the group’s past president, said he wasn’t sure that the South West Area Neighbors had held a meeting in six months.
To all this, Oak Hill/Jackson’s Richards says City Hall is only willing to give “lip service to direct involvement” from existing neighborhood associations.

“Paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars for out-of-state consultants to ‘foster neighborhood governance’ is a very shallow and costly sham,” Richards says.

What all of this translates to in the larger picture is an unfolding drama that centers on just how much grass-roots-directed neighborhood leadership there should be versus how much City Hall-assisted neighborhood leadership there should be.

In the last two weeks, the neighborhood leaders also took it a bit on the chin after Stokesberry, Richards and King “demanded” that the city’s new Local-Option Sales Tax Oversight Committee include strong representation from the city’s flooded neighborhoods.

All three were among the 71 applicants for the committee. King withdrew his name, and the other two weren’t picked in a group of 24 finalists. Jon Galvin, vice president of Northwest Neighbors Association, was chosen, but then withdrew his name in protest.

Richards has said none of the 24 finalists is a neighborhood association member as far as he knew. But at the same time, he has said he and others will be providing plenty of sales-tax oversight whether they are on the committee or not.

To the great credit of most of these neighborhood association chiefs, they have taken time to be a part of City Hall-orchestrated Neighborhood Planning Process that will has been gathering more than 200 people together in eight workshops over four months to help create a game plan for neighborhood flood recovery.

Every time the sometimes-frustrated Richards has been asked about the city-led initiative, he has said he wouldn’t miss being a part of it.

As for the $10.1 million that the council handed out this week, about half went to fill flood-recovery gaps on the housing side and half on the business side. Included in the grants is $1.5 million to start a Neighborhood Development Corp., which will set up shop in one of the flood-damaged neighborhoods and focus on housing and commercial redevelopment in those neighborhoods. Habitat for Humanity also received $1 million to help it build 20 new homes this summer.

First post-flood victory for new ‘affordable’ replacement housing: Cedar Pond Townhouses to go up on a part of what had been Chapman Fun World

In City Hall, Floods on March 26, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Neighbors out along Wilson Avenue SW near Williams Boulevard and Westdale Mall lost out this week on their attempt to block the construction of 90 rental units on about 11 acres of land.

Part of the site used to be home to the Chapman Fun World, but for opposing neighbors, the fun is long gone. Some 224 people signed a petition against the development, called Cedar Pond Townhouses.

The 6-2 City Council vote in favor of the development clears the way for the first newly built, affordable rental housing to be built to replace affordable housing lost in the June 2008 flood.

Much has gone into City Hall’s effort to do just that, build more affordable housing, since the first months after the city’s flood disaster.

The City Council created a Replacement Housing Task Force last September and then it successfully lobbied the federal government to increase a key federal funding tool – federal tax credits – for the state of Iowa.

The Cedar Pond development will use tax credits and some local financial incentives for much of its funding. For the tax-credit financing piece, private investors pay money upfront for a housing project’s construction and, in turn, have their federal tax liability reduced.

The upfront money allows the developer to take on much less debt, and, as a result, the developer can and must keep rents affordable. At Cedar Pond, only those earning at or below 60 percent of the average medium income for Linn County can rent the units.

The opponents made good arguments on Wednesday evening about potential problems with water runoff from the proposed development and about traffic problems that already exist in the area.

District 5 council member Justin Shields — this is his council district — was convinced. He said the site was too wet for the development. And he said he had heard before how a developer’s engineers were going to take care of everything, and then they do not.

But in these discussions about affordable housing, a central concern, too, is just who might live in affordable housing.

It’s clear it’s an issue, not so much by what opponents say, as what proponents and the developer say.

In this instance, Greg and Candace McClenahan, of EverGreen Real Estate Development Corp., Prior Lake, Minn., are the developers, and Candace McClenahan emphasized to the City Council and to the opponents in the audience that people who live at Cedar Pond must have jobs so they can pay up to $570 in rent and $78 a month for utilities each month for a two-bedroom apartment and $670 and $101 for utilities a month.

There is even a new term — work force housing — for these kinds of developments, which Mayor Kay Halloran used to express her support for the project. Given the affordable housing lost to the flood, this is “new housing for our work force,” she said.

Council member Tom Podzimek took exception to neighbors who called the rental development incompatible with the area.

“Affordable housing doesn’t seem like an incompatible use,” he said.

At the end of the day, the opposing neighbors had a tough case to make, in large part, because an early development on the same site had been given approval a few years ago. And that development had three-story buildings, not two-story ones, and it had 38 more rental units.

The McClenahans also came along with a plan at a good time when the City Council was eager to replace some of what the 2008 flood destroyed. And the McClenahans spent much time refining their plan and scaling it back as they worked to please the city’s Replacement Housing Task Force. Task force member Ben Henderson told the council just that on Wednesday evening.

Two members of the City Planning Commission also came to the council meeting to explain why the commission earlier had backed the project.

Chris Dostal, a 2005 City Council candidate, was among neighbors arguing against the development because of the traffic nightmare that he said already exists on and around Wilson Avenue SW. But the timing of that argument wasn’t the best either: the city’s multimillion-dollar viaduct project on 33rd Avenue SW will be ready for traffic in the fall and should reduce traffic on Wilson Avenue by a third, a city engineer said.

Cedar Pond now heads to Des Moines to secure tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority. This comfortable territory for the McClenahans: They’ve built 11, regulation-heavy, tax-credit projects in Iowa and Minnesota in the last 12 years.

Three other new, new-construction, tax-credit projects have been proposed for Cedar Rapids since last September. One intended for the former Ellis Golf Course chipping area has been abandoned in the face of neighbor objections. A second at 1100 O Ave. NW is opposed by neighbors and has gotten a lukewarm reaction to date from the City Planning Commission. A third project, planned for the Oak Hill Neighborhood has yet to secure tax credits.

Former vets director Gary Craig will ‘vigorously fight’ public misconduct charge; his attorney says Craig is ‘shocked;’ calls charge a ‘personal vendetta’

In City Hall, Veterans Memorial Commission on March 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

Gary Craig, the city of Cedar Rapids’ former veterans memorial director, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and taken to jail on a charge of felonious misconduct in office. If convicted, the 54-year-old could face up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine. He quickly posted a $5,000 bond and was released.

Craig is accused of providing the city’s Veterans Memorial Commission with false payroll records, spreadsheets and claim forms during a time when the commission raised questions about his job performance, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.

His attorney, Michael Lahammer of Cedar Rapids, said Thursday afternoon that Craig is innocent.

Lahammer said he and Craig will “vigorously fight’ the charge.

“We think it’s a personal vendetta by some people, and it’s certainly not based on any facts as we understand them to be,” Lahammer said. “Gary’s given a lot of public service to the city and county, he’s a veteran, and he’s pretty shocked at the charge.”

Craig’s initial court appearance is slated for April 3 in Linn County District Court. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Also on Thursday, Pete Welch, chairman of the city’s Veterans Memorial Commission, renewed his disappointment with Craig, the former commission’s paid city employee.

Craig resigned from his city post on March 1, 2008, citing job stress, after being paid for 20 weeks while on city paid administrative and medical leave. He joined the city payroll in August 1998.

He was placed on leave by the Veterans Memorial Commission when the commission asked the state auditor to investigate Craig’s handling of money.

The auditor’s report, released in January 2009, found fault with Craig, fault which was apparently the basis for his arrest on Wednesday.

“It is disappointing that when you put a person in a position of public trust that they don’t handle themselves in an absolutely trustworthy manner,” Welch said Thursday.

The auditor’s report in January accused Craig of spending improperly and being paid improperly while a city employee.

Specifically, the state report tied Craig to $10,178 in improper spending and the report said he received $5,021 in city income and payroll taxes while working on veterans projects unrelated to city employment.

The report noted, too, that Craig repaid $6,800 of the $10,178 in questioned spending.

Craig has been driving truck over the road since his departure from the city.

Back in January, Craig said he left city employment and took to driving a truck to relieve stress.

“My doctor felt it would be good for me,” he said. As for the state audit, “I don’t know anything about it. I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Craig’s attorney in January, Robert Wilson of Cedar Rapids, also said Craig did nothing wrong.

Accusations against him, Wilson said, were a result of Craig’s wearing a couple hats at once. He was both the city’s veterans director and treasurer of Valor Inc., a non-profit organization serving veterans.

“He was all by himself trying to keep track of everything,” Wilson said in January.

Craig was earning $62,067 a year when he left city employment.