Corbin H. Crable
[email protected]
Area residents will soon see some changes in the way the Edgerton City Council operates, according to Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts. And those changes have started with the city’s evaluation of City Administrator David Dillner.
The governing body’s last meeting before the start of the new year consisted largely of meeting in executive session to evaluate the performance of Dillner, who has served as city administrator for the past two years.
“It went well,” Roberts said of the evaluation. “We discussed items good and bad, and I’m not sure it was a typical evaluation.”
Dillner did not immediately return calls from The Gardner News seeking comment on his evaluation.
Dillner’s service as city administrator has been peppered with controversy in the past year. According to a Gardner News article last spring, Dillner posted the incorrect version of the city’s budget for fiscal year 2010 on Edgerton’s website. At the time of the mistake, Dillner said the city likely would convene a public hearing to address the issue. As of this writing, that has not occurred.
In addition, the Edgerton City Council approved an animal control ordinance written by Dillner that omitted the definition of animals and animal control officers. Dillner and the council revised the ordinance and passed the correct legislation some months later.
According to Roberts, the council will not rely more on the city administrator to execute such projects.
Roberts said neither of these specific issues was raised during Dillner’s evaluation. He added that while Dillner’s contract has been extended, the issue of a pay raise was never brought up. Roberts said he did not know Dillner’s exact salary but estimated it to be around $60,000 per year plus benefits.
At a meeting late last year, at least one Edgerton resident publicly advocated for Dillner to be removed from his position as city administrator and urged the council to use his salary to fix potholes throughout the city instead.
“What we’re looking at doing is going through a policy governance, in which the council acts as an ends group, and try to focus more on what we want done, be it expanded water treatment or wastewater facilities. We’ll look at the big picture more and let our city administrator accomplish it.
“In David’s case, he’s going to be the focal point for results. … and we’re going to change the council’s focus from individual potholes to all of the potholes.”
Roberts said that with the intermodal coming to town, it is more important than ever to take a “big-picture” viewpoint of the city’s growth.
“I’m hoping that through future meetings, it’s noticeable that we’re accomplishing goals so the citizens can see more productivity,” he said. “We’re trying to move Edgerton from a government that micromanages to a government that can get things done.”
Roberts said that although changing the council’s collective mindset – and giving Dillner more responsibility to carry out their big-picture wishes – may be a daunting task, the first major step they can take toward that change is adopting a more professional presence while maintaining the casual, small-town feel for which they are known.
“The first thing people should notice is a more professional attitude from the city,” Roberts said. “I don’t know that I want to portray a White House professionalism, but the way in which issues are handled should be more professional than they are today. And people should be able to see that we’re handling those issues in a manner that is timely.”
Roberts said he, Dillner and the council are looking forward to the changes the intermodal’s arrival will bring, both in residential and commercial growth, and the operation of the council as well.
“We’ve worked hard on those 1,100 acres, and it doesn’t stop there,” Roberts said. “We need to be able to handle it. The way Edgerton government works, it’s going to be tough if we don’t change.”
The council will next meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13 at the Edgerton Community Center, 404 E. Nelson St.