Perryville city administrator's fate still undecided

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- The Perryville Board of Aldermen spent at least two hours in closed session Tuesday night discussing the role and fate of city administrator Bill Lewis, according to Lewis and his attorney.

When Lewis and attorney Robert Sweeney left the meeting at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sweeney said no decision had been reached as to whether Lewis would retain his position as city administrator.

The majority of the discussion concerned the role of the city administrator in developing a vision for the city, Sweeney said.

The city hired a private consulting firm in March to conduct an evaluation of Lewis' performance, Lewis said in previous interviews.

The results of that evaluation were discussed at a closed meeting last week, according to the minutes, but have not been disclosed.

However, the reasoning behind the evaluation has not been disclosed, Sweeney said before the council meeting.

The evaluation seemed to be more of a survey, Sweeney said, involving board of aldermen members and city department heads concerning their opinions of Lewis.

Sweeney said he's never seen a board of aldermen hire a private firm to conduct such an evaluation without a specific agenda, such as determining if goals have been met or verifying allegations of misconduct.

Sweeney, who was permitted to be present at the closed meeting to represent Lewis during the discussion, said he planned to ask the board of aldermen to outline what specifically they were unhappy about.

A "barometer where both employee and employer knew what the goals were" was needed in the situation, Sweeney said.

"Normally, you start with a goal, then you decide if the person has met the goal," Sweeney said.

"This evaluation process almost seems to be a popularity contest."

Lewis, who also serves as manager of the Perryville Municipal Airport, has said he doesn't want to speculate about the council's reason for having his performance evaluated.

"It just seems like we skipped a bunch of stuff in the middle and went right to the execution part," Sweeney said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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