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Vandalia once again has no city administrator

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 11:53 am

After the City of Vandalia’s Board of Aldermen voted last Wednesday to remove City Administrator Chase Waggoner from the position he held for about seven months, the City of Vandalia is once again seeking someone to fill the top paying leadership position.
Since it was a personnel matter, city officials are not saying what the reasons were behind Waggoner being let go after aldermen unanimously voted for his departure.
We are only left to speculate and wonder what the reasons were for them in making their decision. This quick action leaves the city in a situation it wasn’t in when former City Administrator Alan Winders stepped down from the position.
This time, the city does not have an active assistant city administrator and the move comes at a annual crossroads for Vandalia.
• A budget for the fiscal year commencing on March 1, 2017 should already be set in stone for this next year but it is not.
In the February meeting, City of Vandalia Mayor Ralph Kuda told the group that the budget wasn’t ready to present as it stood at that time.
It was noted in the meeting minutes that the budget “must be workable and he has the power to not approve the budget.”
It was noted that 90 days were not unreasonable for the budget to be reviewed, discussed, include department heads in the process, and eventually be established.
• This process is also happening at the same time of an election featuring two candidates in both Ward I and Ward III.
• A litigation could also cost the city money depending how the courts rule on a situation involving three part-time officers, who are once again on paid administrative leave.
While it’s entirely possible that the current group of staff and city officials can effectively run things without a full-time administrator or interim administrator, having no one in the position right now will not make things easy.
This is why I think it’s fair to have questions for the aldermen  regarding Waggoner’s departure and the effects of his position once again being vacant.
Was a move necessary before passing a budget?
What were the details behind the aldermen feeling it was necessary to make a decision now?
Why was there no assistant city administrator ever hired, which would have helped during this current situation? Can a new budget really be passed in 90 days during this time of transition?
The city recently went nearly a year without a city administrator and that time was filled with contentious monthly meetings, delayed decisions, and led to many citizens being vocal with their concerns on how the town was being governed. The next few months will be extremely important for city officials and for the City of Vandalia.