Willard Mayor Snider censured at special meeting

Ryan Squibb

Willard Mayor Sam Snider, center, answers questions presented by Willard alderman David Keene and Corey hendrickson, in foreground, at last Thursday night's special meeting.

Willard's aldermen chambers were filled to the brim with locals at last week's meeting, which was eventually standing room only.

Board unhappy with interim city admin. unofficial firing, Snider's request for lawyer not to be present
More than 50 people turned out—in chambers designed for many fewer—at a specially called meeting of the Willard Board of Aldermen Thursday, Sept. 14, to discuss the hiring and firing of interim city administrator Donna Stewart.
The hiring of Stewart was agreed upon by the board—in a meeting presided over by mayor pro-tem Sam Baird—in the absence of Mayor Sam Snider, who was out of town. Upon Snider's return, however, Snider fired Stewart, to the dismay of the aldermen, who then called the special meeting.
During the special meeting, Snider faced a direct line of questioning by the aldermen as to why he fired Stewart.
Snider contended that Stewart wasn't qualified to hold the position due to a lack of education and experience. He also posited that the mayor and only the mayor could appoint such a hire, and it was his belief that it was an illegal action.
Willard City Attorney Ken Reynolds, who was in attendance, said he believed that state statute is clear that the mayor pro-tem could act as mayor in such an instance, in his legal opinion, but a judge could have the final say on that decision.
In a memo written by Reynolds prior to the meeting, Reynolds said 'Ultimately the discharge of (Stewart) must be approved by the board of aldermen." An act on which the board never voted.
"He has the right to fire her, but it's subject to your approval or disapproval," Reynolds told the board.
After some back and forth about the action, the board then voted 5-0 to rehire Stewart, and pay her for the time lost.

Mayoral censure
In a rare act of admonishment, the Willard Board of Aldermen then pursued a public censure of Mayor Snider for his actions during the ordeal. Although the action has no legal standing, as was announced by Alderman Corey Hendrickson, they did wish to make the situation public.

"I submit that the mayor has not performed his fiduciary responsibilities as it pertains to hiring a city administrator and I believe that he should be publicly censured," said Aldermen Troy Smith.

Hendrickson followed Smith's comments with questions for Snider.

Hendrickson: "Can you inform the board, those present, why you have instructed Mr. Reynolds (city attorney) not to be present at this evening's meeting."

Snider: "I'm not going to get into anything else Mr. Hendrickson, you've already gone into the censureship. And I don't believe anything else is…"

Hendrickson: "Did you instruct staff not to speak with the aldermen about your firing Mrs. Stewart?"

Snider: "Again, I'm not going to go into anything else."

Hendrickson: "Why do you not want to hire an interim city administrator, sir?"

Snider: "Mr. Hendrickson that's enough…"

The meeting then devolved further when Snider went on to question the legality of the board by implying that two of its members did not live where they claim. An implication that was quickly answered by Alderman Landon Hall, whose landlord—present at the meeting—confirmed his residence.

Following a motion and a second, the board then voted in favor, 5-0, in the absence of Mayor Pro-tem Sam Baird, to publicly censure Snider, who then adjourned the meeting, which was met with cheers and applause from the crowd.


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