Local News

Does Fairbury Need A City Administrator?

By Gordon Hopkins
The City of Fairbury remains without a city administrator since the last one was relieved of his duties a year ago this week. FJN recently spoke to Fairbury Mayor Spencer Brown, who indicated the lack of an administrator has not been a detriment to the city and, in fact, locating a new administrator is no longer a priority, “We have scaled back our efforts. Our current staff is doing an exceptional job without a city administrator.”
Mayor Brown explained how the city is functioning without an administrator, “I have assumed some of the duties of the city administrator. Daily responsibilities have been shuffled around with current staff and we have also made some internal changes (adding a deputy city clerk) for the increased workload.”
Crystal Floyd, a front office worker at the city office, took over the role of deputy city clerk, supporting city clerk Erin Reimer.
There has been an ongoing worker shortage throughout the country, impacting both public and private sectors. The Mayor told FJN that a, “Lack of qualified applicants moved us to find alternatives for our workload, which has worked very well.”
Not everyone agrees the city can get by without an administrator. City councilperson Bradley Kuzelka told FJN, “No, we need one. Erin didn’t sign up for this. We are likely missing out on opportunities that a dedicated administrator would have knowledge about.”
City Council President Kelly Davis also expressed concerns, “I have mixed feelings on this. The city went a long time without a city administrator, and I do agree with the mayor that things are running pretty smoothly without one. My main concern is the added amount of work we are putting on other city staff, especially the city clerk. Erin has a very full plate, and I hope we don’t overload her to the point of her leaving-she is a real asset to the city.
“The mayor has been overseeing the operations of the different departments and the department heads, and that has been working alright, but my concern is not having someone right here in town to take care of issues that come up when they come up. I realize with today’s technology people can be contacted via cell phone instantly, but sometimes, especially when there are issues with/between employees, I feel it is better to have someone there, face-to-face, as soon as possible. The mayor as recently taken a new job, with a lot of responsibility, based out of Geneva, and I’m not sure what amount of flexibility he has if an issue arises-I would hate to have a city issue create a problem for him at his job.”
According to Mayor Brown, in the last year the city heard from just four qualified candidates, “Worth a follow-up of some kind.”
The mayor estimated another 10 candidates applied but were not considered, “Probably 10 or more…but understand, some were one single line of text or not even valid resumes.”
Fairbury’s last city administrator, Jacob Matthews, was let go after just 57 days on the job and without explanation.
The announcement came Friday, September 9, 2022, from Mayor Brown.


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