Among the several items on the agenda for this voting session is a
motion pertaining to hiring a temporary city administrator. The
council will be asked to vote on hiring Sue McLaughlin through
GovTempUSA temporary placement services.
Recently Mayor Keith
Snyder took a few moments to explain how the council has come to
Snyder related that according to Illinois law, the contract
offered to a city administrator cannot exceed the term of the
current sitting mayor. As Lincoln has worked and struggled to find a
city administrator, time left in Snyder's current term is winding
down. He explained that with each month, the term the city could
offer a candidate narrows, making it all the more difficult for the
city to find someone because there is no long-term job security.
This past fall, as they normally do each year, several members of
the council attended the Illinois Municipal League Conference in
Snyder is on the board of the IML and serves as moderator for
some of the workshops during the conference. He explained how that
had an effect on the decision now before the council.
"Last fall, a coincidence occurred that was to our benefit,"
Snyder said. "I was moderating a session at the IML Conference in
Chicago. The session was entitled 'Hire Hard, Manage Easy.' As an
IML board member, if I want to serve as a session moderator, I can
choose which sessions are of most interest to me to moderate. I
picked this one specifically because of our difficulties in finding
the right person for the city administrator's job. I wanted to find
out if we were being too 'hard' or too 'easy' or what we may do
"The scheduled speaker for the session could not attend because
of a family health emergency, so her partner, Joellen Earl, spoke
using the original speaker's notes and slides. The scheduled speaker
was Heidi Voorhees, from Voorhees and Associates. Voorhees and
Associates is a search firm for municipalities based in the suburbs.
Joellen runs GovTempsUSA, a sister firm to Voorhees and one that
focuses on providing temporary placements to local governments (www.govtempsusa.com).
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"Joellen did a great job, and we spoke at length following the
session about our city administrator search. She suggested that we
may want to look at a temporary placement as a way to both deal with
the length-of-term issue and allow the city to actually experience
operating with a city administrator. I came back and discussed the
possibility with the council. When they expressed interest, I asked
Joellen to see if she could find a placement for us here in Lincoln.
She eventually forwarded the name of Sue McLaughlin to us."
McLaughlin has a bachelor's degree in mass communication from
Illinois State University and a master's degree in public
administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
In her last city administrator position, she was responsible for
overseeing a $35 million budget and 185 employees in seven
departments, including fire, sewer, parks, lakes and cemetery.
During her term there she worked to eliminate a $1 million budget
deficit and achieved that within three months of her arrival.
She also launched a highly successful Operation Community Pride
program to reinvigorate nuisance violation cleanup. This resulted in
more than 22 demolitions and 200 violation citations.
Tonight, the council will be asked to approve a contract with
GovTempsUSA to place McLaughlin as a temporary city administrator.
The contract can run no longer than April 30.
According to Snyder, at the end of the term, the council can
assess the situation and extend the temporary arrangement for a set
number of months; hire McLaughlin as a permanent city administrator;
open a search for a different city administrator, or discontinue the
idea of a city administrator entirely.
[By NILA SMITH]