Metro-East News

Collinsville department head is appointed interim city manager; search to fill position begins

Interim City Manager Mitch Bair
Interim City Manager Mitch Bair News-Democrat

The Collinsville City Council on Monday night unanimously voted to appoint Community Development Director Mitch Bair to the position of interim city manager.

Bair said after the meeting that the search for a permanent city manager is in the “very preliminary” stage.

He said City Council members are currently focused on nailing down what they are looking for in a full time city manager.

“That’s where they are right now — figuring out exactly where they want to take that search and what qualities they’re looking for in a city manager so they can be stable and successful in this position,” Bair said.

Bair, who has a master’s degree in public administration, said a city manager position was actually his “original career aspiration.”

“I think it was natural to kind of gravitate to this role,” he said.

However, Bair said he is not interested in filling the role permanently.

“I always reserve the right to change my mind,” he said, “but right now, that is not my intent. My intent is to, at some point, hopefully go back to being the director of community development and only having to do one job.”

Bair has been the acting city manager since July 18, in addition to his roles as community development director, city planner, liaison to the planning commission and zoning hearing officer. He will receive a pay increase of $1,800 per month to his $83,880 base salary and will be paid retroactively for the time he has been acting city manager.

He said he will continue to manage his time between his many roles with “a lot of support from the other department heads and city staff and the City Council.”

“It’s been a really good team effort,” Bair said of the last few months.

There was some discussion prior to the vote Monday night about whether Bair, who lives in St. Louis, would use the city manager vehicle to commute across the river to Collinsville on a daily basis. Mayor John Miller said he does not believe it should be used for a commute of that length.

“I would hope that he would use it in the City of Collinsville. Since he doesn’t live in the city of Collinsville, he would not drive a city vehicle back and forth to Missouri,” Miller said. “... I think the use of the vehicle in the city and (for) city business is one thing but driving back and forth across state line is something else.”

Bair said he plans to use the car when he has meetings and “when it requires that it’s used.”

“It’s not a daily use by any means,” he said.

Although he lives in Missouri, Bair said he has worked in Collinsville for the past seven years as a professional planner.

In other business, the council approved:

▪  Executing a pre-annexation agreement between the City of Collinsville and Thomas and Joann Christiansen.

The Christiansens own about 15 acres of Collinsville Township land located at 6803 Clay School Road, which will be annexed upon contiguity of corporate limits.

Bair said during the meeting that because the property is about one mile east of the city’s corporate limits, “it’s a while before we anticipate they’ll be annexing into the city.”

▪  Increasing the salary of the communications/support staff coordinator.

Police Chief Steve Evans requested a raise for Communications/Support Staff Coordinator Lori Wise, whose hourly rate is below at least one employee she supervises.

The suggested salary increase for the position is from $57,900 to $60,926.40 annually.

According to Evans’ report, the salary for a similar position in Fairview Heights is between $50,776 and $54,030.

The salary for a similar position is $60,104.11 in Edwardsville and $61,817 in O’Fallon, Evans wrote.

▪  Requesting permission from the Illinois Department of Transportation to close Main Street for the Fall Festival.

The proposed closure will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 between Seminary Street and 159.

The Collinsville Main Street Community Association’s Fall Festival, which includes costume contests and a chili cookout, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The City Council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at City Hall, 125 S. Center Street.

Contact reporter Lexi Cortes at or 618-239-2528. Follow her on Twitter: @lexicortes.