LINCOLN — After a two-year search, the city of Lincoln has hired its first city administrator: Sue McLaughlin, the former city administrator for Mattoon.
McLaughlin has been hired through GovTempsUSA on a temporary basis, Feb. 1 through April 30. The hire is temporary because contracts cannot extend past a current mayor’s term. Keith Snyder’s term will expire April 30, but he is running for re-election.
The temporary contract, which has a provision for a six-month extension, will give the city a good trial period, Snyder said.
“We will have options because we can evaluate it and the council can make a decision whether or not to make it permanent or go another direction,” Snyder said.
The Mattoon City Council terminated McLaughlin’s contract in June “without cause” after she was on the job for 2½ years.
Because the contract was ended “without cause,” McLaughlin walked away with a severance package worth an estimated almost $50,000. Her salary had been $99,806 per year.
McLaughlin faced criticism from the council because of a proposal to sell 4.7 acres at Lake Mattoon to her fiancé for about $41,000. Officials say the figure was far less than the market value of the property.
“There is rumor and there is fact and the elected officials in both communities are aware of those facts, and I am confident in my abilities to handle the duties of the position,” she said.
Snyder said he talked with McLaughlin at length about the situation.
“We talked with her for about two-and-a-half hours about it and I also talked with city officials in Mattoon as well as all of her references and other contacts,” Snyder said. “I have researched this thoroughly and I feel very confident that we made the right decision for Lincoln. She is really a bright person.”
McLaughlin has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Illinois State University in Normal and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. She held previous administrator positions in North Aurora and Byron.
“I’m looking forward to working in Lincoln because I think it is a progressive community and it is a community with a lot of history,” she said. “I am very impressed with the work they have done in the last few years, and I think they are on the brink of some more great things.”
Because of the temporary nature of the contract, McLaughlin will not be required to move to Lincoln until the position becomes permanent.
“It’s a great opportunity and the temporary contract allows everyone a look-see because they have never had an administrator. We will have to set a lot of things up and then we can evaluate it in a few months,” she said.
McLaughlin will begin Feb. 1 with a salary equivalent to $62,400 annually.
In Mattoon, Kyle Gill was selected interim city administrator by the local council in October.
Penny Weaver contributed to this story.
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