Iowa town ends contract with sex offender
CENTERVILLE (AP) — The city of Centerville has terminated its contract with a convicted Iowa sex offender who was hired as a temporary city administrator, according to an open letter from the mayor released Wednesday.
Mayor Jim Senior said in the letter that the city did not run a criminal check on Kevin Stocker, of Elkhart, before hiring his consulting firm to help with administrative duties. Senior said city policy requires background checks on potential employees, but not on consultants.
The 37-year-old Stocker was hired as interim city administrator to help craft Centerville’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The previous city administrator abruptly retired in December, according to the letter.
Senior said Stocker initiated the termination Tuesday after a city staff member alerted police and others about the conviction.
“He thought it would be the best thing for the city,” Senior said.
Stocker was convicted of enticing a minor in August 2006 in Black Hawk County, according to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. Senior said it was a sting operation that involved Stocker communicating with authorities and not a minor.
The judge gave him probation and a suspended prison sentence of two years.
Officials said they were unaware of Stocker’s conviction before he was hired. Senior said he supports Stocker, though he called his actions a mistake.
“I would have signed the contract after I found out,” he said.
Senior said Stocker had a strong resume that showed a history of assisting other municipalities with similar projects. The City Council approved an agreement between the city and Stocker on Feb. 4, and he began work on Feb. 5. Senior called Stocker’s initial work excellent.
“He was very efficient,” he said. “He did his job well. I wish we still had him.”
A public number listed for Stocker was not a working number. The city said it’s immediately looking for someone to fill the temporary job until it can hire a new administrator.