Centralia City Council votes 4-1 to extend city manager’s contract on month to month basis

Centralia City Council votes 4-1 to extend city manager’s contract on month to month basis

The chair of the Centralia City Manager Search Committee Forrest Langenfeld and member Centralia High Superintendent Chuck Lane update the city council on progress being made in selecting a new city manager.

The Centralia City Council, on a 4-1 vote, has agreed to extend City Manager Dan Ramey’s contract on a month to month basis until a new city manager is hired.

City Attorney Doug Gruenke told the city council no new appointment was needed for the extension.

The no vote came from Councilman Robert “Spanky” Smith who had earlier asked the city attorney about what other options the city had.

Ramey made it clear he was staying on at the request of the Mayor and three other city council members.

“Danny is not the one who has asked to stay on councilman, I’ve had 4 members of this council come to me several times to prolong my obligation to the point Danny that it would be awfully crappy of me to put us through this thing.  And so obviously it appears that you differ from that.  But I’m more than happy to keep my resignation date that I submitted.  I’m not the one who is trying to stay on, I’m the one trying to make sure this town carries on.  And I’ve had no control over the selection of the City Manager or the time period.”

Ramey then explained over eight years he has made some people upset and he’s had to fire some people including Smith from his position in the recreation department. He then told Smith if he was still unhappy with his dismissal, he’d be pleased to outline what happened with himself and the media.

Smith later denied his earlier dismissal by Ramey as a city employee had anything to do with his questioning of Ramey remaining on as city manager, noting he was acting on the best interests of city residents.

Before the vote, the council received an update from two members of the City Manager Search Committee. Chair Forrest Langenfeld says after getting permission to place an ad in the International City Manager’s Newsletter they now have 25 candidates.

“There’s a lot of very well educated folks.  There’s a lot of really talented people who have applied.  The good news is there are some local folks who have applied.  Folks from both coasts and pretty well everywhere in between.  Based upon the criteria that you established on this, we’ve put a rating system together and every member is ranking the candidates.”

Committee member and Centralia High School Superintendent Chuck Lane asked for patience.

“We have time to go through this thing, we want to make the very best decision possible.  We went through all the resume’s and we all know sometimes people look very good on paper but until you really spend time with them and dig into what they’ve done you find out other things.  It’s just a process and we have to respect the process.  Be patient, we want to do what’s best for the city.”

The committee’s next meeting is August 21st when they will meet with the Illinois City Manager Association’s liaison to local government who retired after 27 years as Champaign City Manager and has helped with eight city manager searches in the last two years. The committee has been instructed to rate their top five choices and then turn over all resumes for a final decision by the city council. No date has been set for the work to be finalized.

Councilman David Sauer, who is an ex-officio member of the committee, once again expressed his desire to hire a local person for the job.