Posted at: 01/16/2013 7:21 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 7:27 PM
By: Steph Crock
Reaction to Termination of Pine Island City Admin
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- We're learning more about a decision in Pine Island that has taken some in the community by surprise. The newest members of the city council voted to eliminate the city administrator position.
Those on city council and the newly elected mayor say it was for budgetary reasons, but listening to the very long public comment period at Tuesday night's meeting and speaking with a former council member, it sounds as though a number of people believe it was more personal than that.
The Pine Island city council's first meeting of the year, ended with some big changes. "We got to that item and it was moved that we eliminate the position and we activate the termination clause in Abraham's contract, so we did so," said Pine Island Mayor Rod Steele.
That last minute agenda change passed 3 to 2. We asked an area City Attorney if this was a legal move. "There’s no state law that says if you add something to the agenda, you have to wait a minimal amount of time before you can vote on it," said Rochester City Attorney Terry Adkins.
The three to vote in favor are newly elected council members. "There had been rumblings, we didn't know if it had enough teeth to pass," said Steele. He was one to vote against it, mainly because he felt it was bad timing. Even so, he stands by the council's abrupt, but perfectly legal changes.
"Purely on his salary it saves the city about $400,000 in the next 5 years," said Steele.
However, others are confident that's not the only reason. "This is personal vendetta, don't get yourself wrong. This was totally a personal vendetta, it has nothing to do with saving money," said Dean Weis. He was a council member for 4 years and worked closely with the now former administrator Abraham Algadi. “He has done nothing but good for the city of Pine Island," said Weis.
He voiced this at last night’s meeting, along with several others who were fired up about the decision. "I spoke during public input and they tried to shut me up and I wouldn't shut up," said Weis. Sticking by Algadi and the position itself. "They're probably going to find out that we need a city administrator and they'll undo everything they've spent just to put a city administrator back in the city," said Weis.
The mayor admits it'll be a challenge. "We've got really good people that can suck up the work, but it’s going to be a little chaotic I think," said Steele.
We did speak with Algadi Wednesday. He said he wasn't ready to talk about this on camera. On the phone he told us he felt this was a “cover of something a lot more sinister.”