Report: West Liberty city manager fired

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Chris Ward photo from City of West Liberty website

The mayor of West Liberty says a loss of trust and confidence prompted the city council to fire City Manager Chris Ward.

Ward became city manager of West Liberty in 2004.  Management of the city’s recycling program appeared to be at the heart of the decision to terminate him.

KCRG reports William Tharp, the attorney representing Ward, said Ward is a scapegoat because the council is unhappy with West Liberty’s recycling program.  The city’s recycling program has been troubled since the council failed to approve construction of a building for the program in 2007.  Since then, the open-air center has seen problems with no one separating trash from recyclable items as well as recent questions about what the Muscatine County Solid Waste Agency would accept from the center.

West Liberty Mayor Chad Thomas said the city recently learned that, although recycling bins were still put out for public use, the city actually stopped recycling about three years ago.

A closed-session performance review was scheduled for Ward for Thursday evening, October 10, 2013.  Mayor Thomas reportedly told Ward he only faced suspension if he agreed to address the issues in closed session and to accept a plan of correction.

Ward reportedly requested the meeting be open to the public.  KCRG reports the council voted 4 to 1 to terminate Ward at that meeting.

Ward was still listed among city leaders on the city’s website Friday, October 11.