A former mayor is now an alderman, the former city administrator is in an interim role, and new aldermen joined the City Council during last week’s Board of Alderman meeting for the City of Vandalia.
An Oath of Office was administered by City Clerk Karen Shaw to newly elected aldermen Teresa Wenzel (Ward I) and Debbie Hopke (Ward III) along with incumbent Dempsey Dixon (Ward II). It was noted that copies of the certified election results were provided by Audrain County Clerk Shelley Harvey.
With a new board in place, there was a still one vacancy remaining due to the recent resignation of Ward I Alderman Doug Bontz.
Mayor Ralph Kuda first recommended for aldermen to appoint former alderman James Jungers at Ward I.
After Alderman Janet Turner made the motion and Dixon seconded it, the board voted down the nomination by a 2-3 vote. Aldermen John Weiser, Hopke, and Wenzel each voted “Nay.”
Alderman Weiser noted that the City Code says that the board will select a successor to fill a vacancy.
City Attorney Amy Rost read Section 115.080 of City Code relating to vacancies. It states that “the Board of Aldermen shall select a successor to fill the vacant position to serve until the next regular election of the City of Vandalia.”
Alderman Weiser then nominated former Mayor Ramon Barnes to fill the position as he has expressed to him that he would be willing to serve for one year.
The votes switched this time with aldermen Weiser, Hopke, and Wenzel voting “Aye” while Turner and Dixon voted “Nay.”
Barnes was in attendance and he took an Oath of Office before sitting in the empty chair. He did say he wouldn’t be voting during the meeting.
A plaque of appreciation later was presented by Mayor Kuda to retiring Alderman Gabe Jennings.
As for the Mayor Pro-Tem, Turner was nominated by Dixon for the position but she declined. Alderman Hopke then nominated Alderman Weiser, who accepted, and was unanimously approved for the position.
Meanwhile, former and current interim City Administrator Alan Winders reminded the group that his position with the city is temporary. His first priority is the Audrain County Commission position, to which he was elected.
Winders went on to say his goal during the interim is to provide service to Vandalia’s citizens, no matter what, to stay out of the ditch, and to prepare for the new city administrator.
He noted that there are ordinances that need to be reviewed and updated; many things need to be done.
He asked MIRMA Executive Director Matthew Broderson to speak to the group regarding training that they recommend for the board. The training may be brought to the city and would take approximately 2 1/2-3 hours, but will be scheduled as soon as possible.
Winders also added that staff is working diligently on the budget, providing it back into the format that the board is used to. The budget would be expected to go out four to five days before the next board meeting.
Winders also led discussion asking the council to determine its method for hiring a city administrator, which was an amended agenda item as the process needs to start as soon as possible.
The hiring can be done either in-house or through the use of a “headhunter.”
The Council Item Summary from June 2015 was provided, as the process is the same.
The City Clerk will provide the ad that was used in the last search for board review. Discussion and decision on the salary for the position will need to be completed before the ads can be sent out.
An ordinance was passed to repeal and replace sections of the Industrial Park covenants and restrictions.
Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry told the group that the Industrial Development Authority has met and proposed changes to the Industrial Park Restrictions and Covenants.
After review of the proposed changes, a first and second reading were approved.
Bill No. 17-1168 was duly passed and approved and the same shall hereafter be known as Ordinance No. 17-1168.
During the Citizens to be Heard portion of the meeting, Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller reminded the group that he and his staff are available to assist with any problems the citizens might be having.
Aldermen approved the meeting minutes for March 14 and March 30.
The Accounts Payable Report for February and March were approved.
The Semi-Annual Financial Report for September 1, 2016-February 29, 2017 was approved. Finance Officer Sharon Myers told the group that the statement is prepared in accordance with State Statute, and needs approval and authorization for publication.
Aldermen approved the appointment of Dennis G. Koch, CPA as the auditing firm for the ensuing year.
Executive Session Agenda
A. Per RSMo 610.021 (2) to discuss leasing, purchase or sale of real estate
B. Per RSMo 610.021 (3) to discuss hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees
C. Per RSMo 610.021 (1) to discuss legal actions, cause of action or litigation involving a public governmental body (not used)
At 6:02 p.m., aldermen adjourned the Regular Session to go into Executive Session. At 7:30 p.m., aldermen adjourned from Executive Session to reconvene in Regular Session then adjourned for the night.