Mattoon Officials Working to Fill Administrator's Post

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Published on June 14 2012 12:15 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Mattoon city officials are working to fill their city administrator's position after the City Council fired the former administrator.

Mattoon council members Tuesday voted 4-1 to terminate the contract of Sue McLaughlin without cause.  The firing came after McLaughlin recommended a 4.7 acre tract of land at Lake Mattoon be sold to her fiance, Don Rodewald of Effingham, for $41,000.  McLaughlin had placed the proposal on the May 15 agenda of the Mattoon council, but Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover removed the item prior to the meeting.

Gover voted to terminate McLaughlin's contract, as did Mattoon Commissioners Randy Ervin, Rick Hall and Bob Becker.  Commissioner Chris Rankin voted against the termination.

Now, the process begins to secure a successor for McLaughlin.  Gover said they will work to get a temporary administrator in place and then turn their attention to a permanent administrator.  One thing that might complicate the process of finding a permanent administrator is that an administrator is appointed by the mayor.  Mattoon's city elections are next April, meaning that an incoming administrator couldn't necessarily be certain of a job.  Gover said that is one of several items for the Council to consider in deciding on McLaughlin's successor.

Gover said, "It could be argued by some that our action wasn't the right one; what we did was in the best interest of all concerned."  Terminating McLaughlin's contract "without cause" entitles the former administrator to severance pay equivalent to six months of the salary of just under $100,000.  Gover, though, said terminating McLaughlin "with cause" could have led to a lawsuit that could have cost the City substantially more money.

The Mattoon Council is also dealing with locating a City Treasurer and City Attorney.  Preston Owen, who held both positions, has resigned effective June 15 over the proposed sale of the Lake Mattoon property.  The Council Tuesday named Fire Chief Tony Nichols the city's interim treasurer, so checks can be signed.  Talks are also underway to secure a firm to handle city legal business.