As of the evening hours of Wednesday, March 1, the City of Vandalia is once again without a City Administrator.
This is due to the Board of Aldermen unanimously voting to remove City Administrator Chase Waggoner from his position during an Executive Session meeting.
Alderman Gabe Jennings made the motion that was seconded by Alderman Doug Bontz before they were joined with “Aye” votes by Aldermen Bob Dunn, Dempsey Dixon, John Weiser, and Janet Turner.
As of press time, City Attorney Amy Rost told “The Vandalia Leader” she cannot “offer a comment at this time.”
The city also did not confirm if a severance package had been offered to Waggoner.
During his approximately seven months in office, Waggoner was able to put together some accomplishments. During that time, the city was able to save more than $100,000 through the pool refinancing project, he helped the city obtain approximately around $30,000 in grants, and he helped an effort in updating the electric network.
He was also in the spotlight in January when he received a pair of traffic citations. Within that same two week period, officers involved in those citations were also let go on the first day the new Police Chief was serving full time.
Waggoner said at the time that the decision to let go of the officers was something he started looking at when he took the job. He had said the increased usage of part-time officers wasn’t cost effective and the department had been struggling for years to get full-time officers.
With six full-time officers budgeted in the department, the elimination of the part-time officers would allow for about $2.50/hour pay increases to the full-time staff. The $15,000 in annual savings would help the department in recruiting and retaining full-time officers.
Many residents expressed their frustration with the decision on Social Media before the three let-go officers were put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
During the same Executive Session last week, the board also unanimously approved a measure to remove the same three officers who were presently on paid administrative leave. They then placed the three officers back on paid administrative leave pending a separate investigation.
Before coming to Vandalia, Waggoner was the fire chief for Gerard, Kansas. He also served as a city councilman for two terms in Lebanon, Mo. Later he worked full-time for two House of Representatives in Rep. Jason Holsman and Rep. John McCaherty.