Water Works: ‘Will strive to fill Steve Sincox’s great big shoes’

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY The Marshalltown Water Works water treatment facility at 1957 N. Center St. Rd. is shown recently.

A tribute to the late Steve Sincox – Marshalltown Water Works Chief Executive Officer and General Manager – highlighted Monday night’s city council meeting.

Veteran Water Works Trustee Kenn Vinson – who had worked with Sincox many years – lauded his skill set, and said the late CEO’s foresight, management and communication skills had made for a smooth transition.

“Steve was not only an exceptional manager, but also a better father and family man,” Vinson said.

Sincox, 48, died July 9.

The MWW has lacked a CEO/GM since.

“I am one of three (volunteer) trustees, and we are working with three department heads to coordinate operations,” Vinson said. “While two of the department heads are relatively new in their positions, Steve did such a great job communicating with them, and keeping them up to date, they are prepared for the challenges before us. Pat Willey, a veteran employee, is the third department head who handles financial matters effectively.”

Vinson said MWW buildings and equipment suffered “minimal” damage from the July 19 tornado.

He said a powerful, back-up generator was invaluable in providing water service to customers city-wide as usual since traditional electrical service had been knocked out for a period.

“Without the generator, we might have had to ration water or have made other adjustments,” he said.

Vinson told the council that Water Works is actively advertising the job opening in a variety of industry magazines.

“(Former MWW CEO/GM and current At-Large Councilor) Leon (Lamer) has been valuable in helping us prepare job qualifications and advertisements,” Vinson said.

Other MWW trustees are Laura Eilers, an attorney with Peglow, O’Hare and See, and Jerry Young, a retired banker.

“Steve was a joy to work with,” Eilers of Marshalltown, a board member since 2012, said. “He was a tremendous asset to the board. We could always count on him to get us information we needed to make decisions.”

“To sum it up, he was excellent to work with,” Vinson said. “Steve was respectful of his staff, the board, his customers, everyone. He was extremely knowledgeable and professional. He had a tough act to follow in Lamer, who was an excellent general manager and CEO. Steve filled those shoes well. He was a pleasure to work with, well prepared for all of our board meetings. It was a sad day when we lost him.”

Iowa/Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program

Also central to the meeting was unanimous approval by council of a resolution authorizing an inter-local grant agreement of the Iowa/Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant program (JAG). It is $20,765.00, split 50 percent with Marshall County, to assist with law enforcement programming or equipment purchases.

Also approved was a memorandum of understanding to share grant funds specifically with Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief of Police Mike Tupper said staff recommendation is to spend their $10,382.50 portion to purchase a robot with cameras on all sides which could be programmed to enter a building or other structure.

“This device could be invaluable, if it means not having to send officers into situation whereby their safety could be threatened.”

Capt. Mike Hanken prepared and submitted the grant application on behalf of the MPD and MCSO.

In other action:

• Council passed a resolution amending the membership of the Parks and Recreation advisory board and abolishing the Veterans Memorial Coliseum commission. A veteran or veterans will be appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

• Council passed an ordinance to amend number of handicap parking spaces. Specifically, adding a handicap parking space in front of the House of Compassion, 210 W. Church St.

It was the first reading, and approved waiving of second and third reading. No public hearing required.

• Officer Stephen Sheets of the MPD was given a five-year service certificate from Tupper. Absent employees qualifying for awards were Debra VanGundy, five years, Pat Johnson, 20 years, and Brad Weuve, 40 years.

Monday’s meeting in council chambers was the first in the locale since July 9. Ten days later a EF-3 tornado caused significant damage to the city hall roof, displacing the city council and several city departments to the Marshalltown Public Library for almost five weeks. Consequently, city council meetings of July 23 and Aug. 13 were held in the library’s conference room. Also held in the conference room was a July 30 “open house,” giving residents and businesses an opportunity to talk with service providers.

The MPD remained at 22 N. Center St., and fire department at 107 S. First Ave.

The next regular city council meeting is 5:30 p.m., Sept. 10 in council chambers. Contact 641-754-5701, or visit marshalltown-ia.gov. The council meeting packet is posted for the public on the city’s website – marshalltown-ia.gov. Residents may also subscribe to agenda notices and department news.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com