West Liberty city manager let go

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Chris Ward was let go from his position as City Manager of West Liberty in a 4-1 roll call vote during a special city council meeting Thursday.

Council members Jose Zacarias, Melody Russell, Ethan Anderson and Robert Hartman voted in favor or terminating Ward's contract, while council member William Cline voted against it.

"It's not the recycling in my mind, it's the reaction, behavior, and loss of trust, for me, that's brought me to this point, where I think we are having a serious talk and serious consideration about terminating your contract as city manger," said Mayor Thomas during the review before the vote.

He opened the floor to the other council members, where a loss of trust between Ward and the council was brought up repeatedly by many of the members.

"I think you've lost the trust of my fellow council members and that's a very hard thing to overcome," said council member Hartman.

Afterwards, Ward was given the floor; however, his attorney William Tharp did most of the talking.

"Mr. Mayor, hearing you say … this is not about the the recycling, or as a response, that's just not genuine at all," said Tharp, "Is this just a coincidence that this is coming up not at the annual review time? Of course this is about the recycling."

He laid out the history of the recycling center in West Liberty, indicating that there's no way the council could not have known that open air recycling could result in contamination.

After a presentation on just what it is that the the Mayor, council members, the city manager, and department heads do in a city, Ward gave a short final statement:

"I just want to say thank you to everybody and I just want to continue to move forward with this."

Afterwards, the council voted to terminate Ward's position. There was no discussion as to who will temporarily fill the position as the city looks for a new city manager.
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