Marion council debates four-year contract for city administrator - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion council debates four-year contract for city administrator

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MARION -- Marion leaders consider a four-year contract for the city administrator.

Gail West has been the city administrator in Marion for eight years. She's one of dozens of employees to have their employment renewed each year, but this year it could be different.

Marion Mayor Bob Butler wants the city council to approve a four-year contract for West.

"The important thing is to have an experienced city official familiar with city government and the operation of the city council," Butler said.

The Marion city council is considering the contract at Monday night's meeting.

Butler plans to retire in 2019 after serving more than five decades as mayor and he said the new mayor will need West's experience.

"You don't change personnel just for the sake of change," Butler said. "If you have people who are competent and are doing the job, why replace them?"

Butler said he learned that lesson the hard way when he was just starting as mayor in the 1960s.

"I was under pressure by a number of politicians to discharge some of the superintendents of the city. Worst mistake I could've made," Butler said. "They were knowledgeable in how the city functions. They knew what to do and how to do it."

Butler said West's contract would last until 2022, but her salary would remain flat at $80,000 a year. Those salary details are subject to change, though.

The length of the contract doesn't sit well with Marion city councilman and mayoral candidate Angelo Hightower. He questions how the new mayor can enact his or her vision with people still remaining from the previous administration.

Butler dismissed Hightower's comments.

"I think they're unfounded, unjustified, but that's his business," Butler said.

And Butler said with at least three new commissioners and a new mayor coming on board in 2019, having West around will keep Marion running smoothly.

West declined an interview for this story.

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