Mingo Junction Village Council unanimously voted to terminate the contract of Charley Bowman as village administrator Tuesday, just seven weeks after he was hired.
Council members said Bowman wasn't willing to work with council. Bowman was officially hired by council Oct. 9 under a contract paying $30,000 a year.
Bowman had been working with Clerk John Angelica to prepare a budget for the village, which Bowman said was facing fiscal emergency come 2014. Council members said they will work with Angelica to prepare the budget, which will be 40 percent less than the current budget. Councilman John Bracone, who made the motion to terminate the contract, said Bowman didn't want to work with council and "was going behind our back."
Councilman Jack Brettell said Bowman was trying to override everything council wanted to do. He said Bowman tried to reprimand a village employee without first coming to council.
Councilman Chuck Dickey said, "I don't feel he wants to work with us. He wasn't keeping us informed. He just goes off and does it. He should have been keeping us apprised, instead of us finding out about it on the street."
Councilman Michael Herrick said he believed Bowman would have been good for the village, but he didn't want to work with council. Herrick said Bowman was invited to come into the closed-door session to explain his side but refused. Bowman left the building prior to council making the decision.
Councilman John Fabian said Mayor Ron DiCarlo has a couple of people in mind to replace Bowman, and council will look at the proposed applicants. Councilman James Morrocco said council can terminate the contract of the village administrator without cause with at least five council members agreeing.
"We needed someone to work hand-in-glove with council. That wasn't happening, and we had to take action," he said.
DiCarlo said it was council's decision to terminate Bowman's contract. He said he wasn't in favor of getting rid of Bowman at this time with the village facing tough financial decisions.
Bowman at a finance meeting on Monday made several proposals to balance the budget, including laying off village workers, police officers and firefighters. He also proposed increasing water and sewer rates every year during the next decade to finance capital improvements and generate enough money to cover the bond for the water plant.
Council prior to the meeting held a workshop session with a representative of the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Partnership, which provides technical help to communities on water and sewer department operations and obtaining financing for projects.
The RCAP representative said communities need to implement a water and sewer rate increase every year to fund improvements to the water and sewer systems and cover increasing costs.
DiCarlo said council has a lot of decisions to make and nothing has been finalized.
"We are trying to keep the operations we have. We are here to protect and serve (the community). Without the revenue, we'll see how far that goes," he said.