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Mayor, council working for free right now

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Vandalia’s aldermen will be working without pay for the next three months, and its mayor will be working free of charge for at least a month.
At the close of the city council meeting on Monday, after a closed session of about 20 minutes, Mayor Rick Gottman announced that he was directing City Clerk Peggy Bowen not to cut a paycheck for him for November.
Then, each of the aldermen announced that they would not be accepting pay for the quarter ending in January.
And then, Gottman announced that the city would suspend for the time being its search for a new city administrator.
That action, Gottman said, was being taken as city officials work to cut a budget deficit that currently stands at $600,000.
According to Bowen, the mayor’s gross monthly salary is $469. Each of the aldermen currently is paid $1,125.50 quarterly.
Aldermen Jerry Swarm, Dean Black, Andy Lester, Bret Brosman, Larry Bennett and Larry Cable agreed to work without pay for the quarter that ends in January. Lisa McNutt was absent, due to the fact that her father, former alderman Von Duggins, is hospitalized in Carbondale following open-heart surgery.
The council’s decision to suspend its search for a new city administrator came two weeks after city officials learned that the man they hired for the job, John McIntyre, told Gottman on what was to be his first day on the job that he could not accept the position.
McIntyre, who lives southwest of Chicago in Orland Hills, cited personal and family issues in turning down the job. He was scheduled to receive an annual salary of $68,000.
The city has been operating without a city administrator since April, when Jimmy Morani left to begin a similar job in the village of New Baden.
In announcing the suspension of the search, Gottman said city officials will be doing some reorganization to handle matters normally taken care of by the city administrator.
For the time being, Cemetery Sexton Dave Wodtka, Sewer Plant Superintendent Mark Augenstein and Water Plant Superintendent Marty Huskey will report to Public Works Director John Moyer.
Code Official Keith Meadows will report to Police Chief Larry Eason, and Eason, Moyer, Executive Secretary LaTisha Paslay, Fire Chief Merle Adermann and Director of Economic Development and Tourism JoAnn Sasse Givens will report to Gottman, who is taking on additional administrative duties.
Gottman said he is making a decision regarding his salary on a month-by-month basis due to the extra work he will be doing as the temporary administrator.
City officials will continue discussions on ways to cut the budget deficit when the council’s personnel and finance committee meets at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1. Those attending the meeting will include the city’s auditor, local CPA Dale Timmermann.