Rob Hegenbarth

Sheldon Police Department officer Rob Hegenbarth has been with the department since 1993. He was recently offered early retirement.

SHELDON—The Sheldon Police Department was at eight officers for only six days.

Zane Roberts was hired as the eighth police officer and his first day was Dec. 28. His oath of office will be during the Sheldon City Council meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

But the city council also will look at a resolution approving an early retirement agreement with officer Rob Hegenbarth during the meeting.

If the early retirement package is approved, the Sheldon Police Department will be back at seven officers.

The council went into closed session on Dec. 15 to evaluate the professional competency of an employee whose performance and discharge were being considered.

On that same day, Hegenbarth submitted a retirement notice to Sheldon city attorney Micah Schreurs, mayor Greg Geels and the Sheldon City Council.

During the closed session, the council asked Sheldon city manager Sam Kooiker to explore terms of a possible early retirement agreement with the employee in question, whose name was not made public since it was a closed session.

An early retirement agreement was reached with Hegenbarth on Monday, Jan. 3. He had stated in a Dec. 15 letter to the council it was his intention to retire Jan. 2.

Hegenbarth has been employed as a police officer in Sheldon since April 12, 1993.

According to the terms of the retirement agreement, Hegenbarth will receive a lump sum of $12,000. This amount includes, but is not limited to, payment for unused accrued vacation leave. He also will have health insurance through Jan. 31.

The retirement agreement also is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability by the city, the employee or any person released under the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Hegenbarth was named in a lawsuit filed by Lindsey Ann Cundiff in June. Cundiff was a student at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon and claims violation of due process and defamation.

Cundiff initially was charged along with two other female students by the Sheldon Police Department with assault stemming from an incident on Feb. 9, 2020, involving students putting shavings from one of their feet in a roommate’s shredded cheese.

Cundiff said she was not at NCC on the day of the incident and the case against Cundiff was dismissed on Oct. 19 and, according to court documents. Kyiah Kastner and Ellie Thompson later reached deferred sentences for their actions in the case.

Hegenbarth handled the case for the Sheldon Police Department.

After reviewing the early retirement package for Hegenbarth, the council will look at a resolution for the reappointment and establishing compensation for Sheldon city attorney Micah Schreurs.

The rate for Schreurs’ service, who is employed by Woods, Fuller, Schultz & Smith P.C. in Sheldon, will increase from $210 to $220 an hour. The standard rate for Woods, Fuller, Schultz & Smith P.C. is $275.

A suggestion was made by a council member to seek a three-year quote so costs can be better planned for.

Other items on the council’s agenda include:

  • Hearing a presentation of the 2020-21 audit.
  • Holding a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance amendment to adopt new city ward boundaries. This replaces an ordinance passed Dec. 15 to better describe ward lines.
  • Hearing an update on the auditor selection process.
  • Approval of pay request No. 1 of $88,006.10 for the sewer collection system improvements.
  • Approval of pay request No. 3 of $80,848.35 for Crossroads North Phase II.
  • A resolution authorizing advancement of costs not to exceed $5,000 for an urban renewal project for the Walter Nelson property on the northeast corner of Hubbard Street and South Third Avenue.
  • A resolution approving the first amendment to collective bargaining agreement.
  • A resolution adopting a new zoning map.
  • A resolution designating the official newspapers of Sheldon.
  • A resolution designating a deposit of funds.
  • Approval of Sheldon Fire Co. applicant Harry Pederson.
  • Approval of Sheldon Community Ambulance Team applicants Jordyn Lich and Hope Tjepkes.
  • Approval of Sheldon Emergency Management Agency applicant Mark Kreykes.