In a special public meeting called for Monday afternoon, the Mount Sterling Village Council went into executive session to discuss the action taken on Monday, Oct. 9 to terminate the contract of village administrator John Martin. In a five to zero vote following the closed session, the motion to terminate Martin’s contract passed.
The special meeting came after some confusion following the regular meeting Oct. 9 when councilwoman Rebecca Burns made the initial motion for termination at the conclusion of the finance report portion of meeting. At that time, the vote was three to two to terminate the contract; council members Burns, Diane Spradlin and David Timmons had voted yes and Jim Davis and Mary Lou Stiverson-Ratliff voted no.
“The motion carried,” said village mayor Lowell Anderson after Monday’s meeting. “No doubt now, with the five voting. So the motion has passed.” Burns made the motion again Monday, this time to “reaffirm” the vote which she said was made “with cause” although did not elaborate further on what that cause may be.
John Martin wasn’t present in the room during the vote. Instead village solicitor Mark Pitstick was there, who initially advised the mayor on the decision to hold the meeting.
“There are a lot of individuals that are here in the village, including John, that might be hurt by us espousing what we know,” Pitstick said. “And I think it’s just better that it take place this way.” He also added that with the pressures the village has experienced over the last two years, it needs time to calm down.
“These are stressful decisions,” Pitstick said. “It’s about local, representative government.”
Although the meeting was previously announced to be public and to discuss the termination as well as financial issues in the village, any discussion took place during the executive session. Pitstick said ahead of the council members going into the mayor’s office for the discussion that the purpose of the session was to discuss “the employment contract of John Martin.”
“We have new elections, we have new people coming on in January. I hope they can take the bull by the horns and make some re-directions, perhaps,” Pitstick said. He made no mention of the specifics of the decision or the cause for termination.
With Martin’s position now vacated, other village officials, including fiscal officer Courtney Bricker will take on Martin’s duties. Pitstick added there are no plans to fill the village administrator position until after the elections. He said it would be best to leave it up to the new mayor and new council.
In November, there are three candidates running for mayor: councilwoman Diane Spradlin, Dustin Parker and William Martin. There are also four candidates for the four seats on village council: councilwoman Rebecca Burns, Tammy Vansickle, Rebecca Martin and Thomas Ward.