Posted at: 02/01/2013 6:35 PM
Updated at: 02/02/2013 8:47 AM
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A longtime resident and member of the city government has written a scathing letter to the city, and resigned from his most recent post on the Cemetery Board.
Larry Stoddard says the firing of City Administrator Abraham Algadi at the beginning of the year was careless, and will harm the future of the city.
Read Mr. Stoddard's letter below
Cemetery Board Members and City of Pine Island, During the last election the voters overwhelmingly selected four new councilmen. I didn’t vote for any of them, so clearly I disagreed that we needed change. While I’m out of the gossip circles, I begin to hear noise about their intention to get rid of Abraham Algadi. I felt this would be very irresponsible, but took no preemptive action because I felt that persons of good will who were concerned with decent governance and the future of the city would feel the weight of responsibility once elected and act reasonably. When I was elected to city council in a similar election that replaced four incumbent council members the city was virtually divided by people who detested and people who loved the acting administrator. While I personally felt most of the problems were hers, I took on the task before us in a responsible manner. I recognized her skills and believed we should try to salvage the situation as she could be a valuable resource. Beside the other duties of the council job the mayor and I spent an hour or more every Monday morning meeting with her and the EDA director, basically to referee their relationship. We put no pressure on her to resign accept we required she work with the employees and city residence in a more harmonious manner. We tried to make the situation work, but despite our sincere efforts within a few weeks she resigned. Although skilled, she seemed temperamentally unsuited for this work. It turns out it is very hard to get someone who can do the job well and take a lot of criticism – often unwarranted and sometimes outright juvenile and racist - and continue working with the very same people.
We then had to search for a new administrator – something I was deeply involved with. It was then I learned how difficult it was to get a really well qualified person and how important it was to have a good administrator. We had only one really outstanding candidate and hired him – Elmer Broker. I only take credit for recognizing his qualities – we were very lucky to have such a candidate. He did a great job and moved this city forward and then in another puzzling election we got a bungling mayor who quickly insulted Elmer who, knowing his worth and value, left to lead Wanamingo at significantly higher salary. It’s clear to see how, as an effective administrator, he changed their city in very positive ways. Unfortunately we didn’t fair nearly as well and hired a woefully inadequate person as our next administrator and wasted several years and created significant financial problems. This was a perfect example of what an incompetent or no administrator could cost our city. After he left, the city council hired a search firm who could not come up with an applicant near the quality, education and experience that Abraham Algadi had. Abraham moved from a very successful job as EDA director to city administrator and has done an outstanding job. I’m not claiming he was perfect and there will always be unhappy people in a job like that, but he was far above most candidates this city has seen or is likely to see.
I never believed that the new council members would be so arrogant and ignorant and allow their personal prejudices and sponsors wishes to cause them to act with such imprudence by firing Abraham before they had even spent an hour inside government. This is a breathtaking waste of city resources and an affront to all who worked so hard before them to lay a foundation for where we are today. Without thought, analysis or working experience they let personal feelings and cowardly masters dictate their action. Even if this were a long term goal, discretion would have lead them to exhibit at least a thin veneer of effort to work inside the system for a while before taking this kind of step. Also their BS about transparency was violated in their first action. They should have held some public discussions on this issue; instead, like the hit squad they were hired to be, they just proverbially shot the city in the head. They spent $80,000 (according to the Post Bulletin) for nothing and lost 20 years of city experience – an action that will prove to be costly but take some time to become apparent.
I’ve spent nearly 20 out of the last 21 years working in city government and, except for council, as an unpaid volunteer. I cared about the city the EDA on which I served for 5 years as a member and several years as President and as a member of and the Cemetery Board for 11 years and President for 10 of those years. I cannot and will not continue to support and give my time to a city whose council is so arrogant and destructive and feels so uniquely brilliant that they can throw away, without a second thought, 20 years of experience and effort. It is a uniquely selfish and mean spirited act and really is foreboding about their commitment to the success and future of the city.
While I consider myself to be a friend of Abraham, we are not social friends and most of my feelings aren’t personal but out of concern for the city of Pine Island. Abraham will do very well. His work is acknowledged and appreciated around the area and in the State. He has already passed up more lucrative opportunities because he was devoted to Pine Island; and that is priceless.
Abraham didn’t stay here for 20 years without reason. Every past councilman and city volunteer didn’t lack good sense and judgment over those 20 years and allow him to continue without value added to the city. I therefore I feel compelled to resign my position on the Cemetery board as I’m sure the new council doesn’t need my experience either. I simply refuse to contribute to an administration whose actions show little or no concern for the greater good of the city and clearly demonstrate a policy of personal revenge and self-interest.
I want to thank my fellow Cemetery Board members for the enjoyable and rewarding time I’ve spent with them. I feel there has been great success and I’ll miss them along with most aspects of the job. I also wish to thank the city personnel who have worked in a cooperative and friendly manner over the years. I realize how all of your service paid or unpaid has contributed to remarkable accomplishments of Pine Island.
Larry D Stoddard