Swansea getting closer to appointing a new village administrator

News-DemocratOctober 7, 2013 

The Swansea village trustees opened the committee meetings with a brisk discussion about the appointment of a new village administrator Monday evening.

Mayor Ken Mueller informed the board he planned to make an appointment of village administrator in two weeks.

Trustee Ron Sutterfield told the mayor he, and other trustees, were under the impression from discussion during the last village meeting that they were to discuss potential candidates at Monday's meeting, not hear the mayor was ready to appoint someone.

The village is trying to replace the former administrator who left the $90,000 position about a year ago. Former village administrator John Openlander, who was hired in 2008, submitted his resignation to the village board in September and officially left the village Nov. 9. He left to take a city administrator position in another state.

Mueller has said he believes Openlander's $90,000 salary was too high for the duties the village requires of an administrator.

Craig Coughlin has served as interim village administrator since Openlander's resignation.

"That's what I thought we were going to do," said trustee Susan Schultz. "I thought we were going to come to this meeting and discuss what we thought about the candidates."

Mueller told the trustees they had plenty of time to review the resumes and ask any questions, voice any concerns and sit in on any interviews before the Oct.7 meeting, and only two trustees, Brian Wells and Matt Lanter, did so.

"I think what needs to happen is to follow the track we set at the last meeting -- review the resumes and have a discussion at this meeting," Schultz said. "I want to participate in the interviews. To take this upon yourself is wrong."

Mueller told the trustees that each and every one of them had the opportunity to talk to the candidates, participate in interviews and ask questions.

"I've done everything possible for anyone who was interested in the process to participate," Mueller said. "Everything was always open to anyone. You've had a year. We've had applications, I gave you guys an advertisement for the job to review and give me feedback on and I never heard a word on that, so, I went ahead and moved forward. In two weeks, I'll make an appointment."

Even if the trustees approve a village administrator candidate, Mueller has the final say on whether to appoint their selection.

After 20 minutes of discussion, the trustees went into executive session for an hour and five minutes to further discuss the most likely candidates for the position.

When they returned, trustees had taken no action, but trustee Susan O'Malley said there were four candidates four members of the board were interested in and planned to meet individually before Mueller makes the official appointment.

"So, since there will be four trustees, it will be a public meeting," she said. "We will try to schedule them back to back and open it to the public."

In other board business:

Approved releasing $24,948 in budgeted funds for the police department to purchase a new cruiser and approved entering into a loan agreement for $27,654 to purchase a new police SUV. Both purchases were previously approved when the budget was approved.

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