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Dickinson commissioners offer City Administrator position to interim; negotiations continue

Dustin Dassinger was formally offered the position as City Administrator during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting as the city moves into the next phase of contract negotiations. If a deal is reached, Dassinger will subsequently retire from the Dickinson Police Department and open the door for a new officer to become the next Police Chief.

Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger addresses the Dickinson City Commission during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at City Hall.
Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger addresses the Dickinson City Commission during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at City Hall.
Dickinson Press file photo
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DICKINSON — Police Chief and Interim City Administrator Dustin Dassinger was formally offered the position of City Administrator during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. The city will now move into the next phase of contract negotiations. Should a deal be reached on a compensation package and accepted, the chief of police will subsequently relinquish his position and retire from the Dickinson Police Department.

The move brings with it a renewed attention to the City Administrator position, as many in the city government are praising the decision and noting the strong leadership of Dassinger.

Dassinger filled the position as interim following the departure of Brian Winningham in early April.

Speaking to The Dickinson Press at the time, Winningham noted that his decision to resign from the City of Dickinson was a personal matter related to his family.

Should contract negotiations reach mutual agreement, Dassinger's subsequent retirement from the police force will see the longtime police chief enter the role in a full-time capacity. After years of service already under his belt for the city, the move opens the door for the next Police Chief — which is expected to come from within the ranks of DPD.

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Dassinger expressed gratitude to the Dickinson Police Officers and department staff he worked with for so many years, and excitement at the prospect of continuing to steer Dickinson toward the best possible future.

Commissioners expressed their mutual agreement that Dassinger was the best person for the job.

“I feel like Mr. Dassinger has been doing such a great job and I would be very comfortable with offering him the position,” said Commissioner Suzy Sobolik.

Commissioner John Odermann explained how the selection process went.

“I would just add that when the committee met after we were done with the interviews we conducted, we scored everyone. I mean it was a significant difference in scoring. And Mr. Dassinger was head and shoulders above the other candidates,” Oderman said.

Dustin Dassinger, Chief of Police at Dickinson Police Department, shares his expectations of the relationship between his department and the Stark County Sheriff's Office moving forward. Photo courtesy of Dickinson Police Department
Dustin Dassinger at the Dickinson Police Department.
Contributed / Dickinson Police Department

He added that they interviewed a total of three candidates, as five others withdrew before making it to the interview process.

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Mayor Scott Decker then asked for a motion to begin contract negotiations with Dassinger, which was unanimously approved.

Decker noted the state of the current labor market.

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“I hope he’s still interested,” Decker said jokingly. “It is a tough market out there right now. But with Mr. Dassinger, like Commissioner Odermann said, when we were done (interviewing) it was a really easy decision.”

Dassinger has expressed gratitude to the Dickinson Police Officers and department staff he worked with for so many years, and excitement at the prospect of continuing to steer Dickinson toward the best possible future.

Dassinger and Wenko
Dickinson City Attorney Christina Wenko and Interim City Administrator Dustin Dassinger.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

“I’m very fortunate that I had the ability to build a very strong team with the Dickinson Police Department and I’m looking forward to having the ability to bring the city staff and city leaders together, working for common goals,” he said in a previous city commission meeting. “You want to make sure that Dickinson is a safe place to live, work and play. So there’s opportunity for development and businesses as well and we just need to get everybody settled in, working on the same page and getting some momentum moving forward.”

Capt. Joe Cianni has been serving as interim police chief since March when Dassinger stepped into the administrator position. If he accepts the city’s offer, a determination on who his permanent replacement for police chief has yet to be determined.

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Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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