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Gage: Hire Patocka as interim engineer

By Staff | Apr 4, 2014

In the public forum portion of Tuesday’s Emmet County Board of Supervisors meeting, Estherville business person Roy Gage suggested that the board hire former county engineer on an interim basis.

Patocka signed a resignation and release agreement with the county in February.

Gage said if the Palo Alto county engineer came into the Emmet County engineer’s office, that he (Gage) couldn’t imagine his being able to pick up the loose ends of the job. Palo Alto county engineer Joel Fantz, declined sharing engineering duties with Emmet County on an interim basis in a meeting of the two boards Tuesday afternoon in Graettinger, citing an extremely heavy workload for the next two construction seasons. Kossuth and Dickinson counties have also declined to share an engineer with Emmet County.

The Iowa Department of Transportation requires that counties have a professional engineer sign project funding agreements with the state, and since counties must be immediately contiguous, Emmet County has now exhausted sharing possibilities with neighboring counties. An April 15 deadline looms for a P.E. to sign the county’s five-year construction program and fiscal 2015 secondary road budget.

“We have an engineer sitting in the south side of town,” Gage said, referring to Patocka, adding that he had not talked to the former county engineer.

Gage said he realized that if Emmet County paid Patocka to serve on an interim basis that it would actually be paying him double, considering the settlement agreement the county had with him. Under the agreement, Patocka, who has been on paid administrative leave since Jan. 28, will receive his salary until June 30.

“If Roger could just step in, it would right that ship,” said Gage.