The abrupt termination of Pine Island City Administrator Abraham Algadi on Jan. 15 remains Topic A in the Pine Island area. We're continuing to report on what exactly happened there -- what led to the firing of the long-time administrator moments after new city council members Nick Novak, Erik Diskerud and Randy Bates were sworn in.
The council members have refused to comment more than a few words about what happened and why, but we're continuing to work the story.
The Post-Bulletin has learned that Larry Stoddard, a long-time and well-respected Pine Island leader, has resigned from the city cemetery board in protest. While the cemetery board may not be the highest-profile job in town, Stoddard's resignation letter is a blistering indictment of how the new council members are running the show.
Here are excertpts, and we'll have a story today.
Cemetery Board Members and City of Pine Island,
During the last election the voters overwhelmingly selected four new councilmen. I didn’t vote for any of them, so clearly I disagreed that we needed change. While I’m out of the gossip circles, I begin to hear noise about their intention to get rid of Abraham Algadi. I felt this would be very irresponsible, but took no preemptive action because I felt that persons of good will who were concerned with decent governance and the future of the city would feel the weight of responsibility once elected and act reasonably...
(Algadi) moved from a very successful job as EDA director to city administrator and has done an outstanding job. I’m not claiming he was perfect and there will always be unhappy people in a job like that, but he was far above most candidates this city has seen or is likely to see.
I never believed that the new council members would be so arrogant and ignorant and allow their personal prejudices and sponsors wishes to cause them to act with such imprudence by firing Abraham before they had even spent an hour inside government.
This is a breathtaking waste of city resources and an affront to all who worked so hard before them to lay a foundation for where we are today. Without thought, analysis or working experience they let personal feelings and cowardly masters dictate their action. Even if this were a long term goal, discretion would have lead them to exhibit at least a thin veneer of effort to work inside the system for a while before taking this kind of step.
Also their BS about transparency was violated in their first action. They should have held some public discussions on this issue; instead, like the hit squad they were hired to be, they just proverbially shot the city in the head. They spent $80,000 (according to the Post-Bulletin) for nothing and lost 20 years of city experience – an action that will prove to be costly but take some time to become apparent.
I’ve spent nearly 20 out of the last 21 years working in city government and, except for council, as an unpaid volunteer. I cared about the city the EDA on which I served for 5 years as a member and several years as President and as a member of and the Cemetery Board for 11 years and President for 10 of those years.
I cannot and will not continue to support and give my time to a city whose council is so arrogant and destructive and feels so uniquely brilliant that they can throw away, without a second thought, 20 years of experience and effort. It is a uniquely selfish and mean spirited act and really is foreboding about their commitment to the success and future of the city.
While I consider myself to be a friend of Abraham, we are not social friends and most of my feelings aren’t personal but out of concern for the city of Pine Island. Abraham will do very well. His work is acknowledged and appreciated around the area and in the State. He has already passed up more lucrative opportunities because he was devoted to Pine Island; and that is priceless.
Abraham didn’t stay here for 20 years without reason. Every past councilman and city volunteer didn’t lack good sense and judgment over those 20 years and allow him to continue without value added to the city.
I therefore I feel compelled to resign my position on the Cemetery board as I’m sure the new council doesn’t need my experience either. I simply refuse to contribute to an administration whose actions show little or no concern for the greater good of the city and clearly demonstrate a policy of personal revenge and self-interest.
I want to thank my fellow Cemetery Board members for the enjoyable and rewarding time I’ve spent with them. I feel there has been great success and I’ll miss them along with most aspects of the job. I also wish to thank the city personnel who have worked in a cooperative and friendly manner over the years. I realize how all of your service paid or unpaid has contributed to remarkable accomplishments of Pine Island.
Larry D Stoddard