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Scot Wrighton looks on as Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe addresses the media during a press conference announcing that Wrighton will be the next Decatur City Manager in the city council chamber at the Decatur Civic Center Wednesday.

DECATUR — City council members are set to vote Monday on a contract for Decatur's new city manager, Scot Wrighton, with an annual starting salary of $185,000.

Of note: There is no time limit to the contract. If the city council fires Wrighton, now the city manager in Streator, "without cause," he will be able to receive a 20-week severance. That benefit that will expire five years after his first day on the job.

Officials made the contract public Thursday, a day after Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and council members introduced Wrighton at a press conference.

"We can't wait for him to actually get here and start," Moore Wolfe said at Wednesday's announcement at the Decatur Civic Center. "We really want someone to move this community forward and we think (Wrighton) is the right kind of leader to make that happen."

It's unclear whether Wrighton would receive annual raises under the contract. Other details include a $15,000 reimbursement for temporary housing and moving expenses to Decatur. Under the terms, Wrighton must be a resident of the city within six months of his first day on the job.

The contract also stipulates that Wrighton may do consulting work outside of his Decatur position, so long as he assures "there is no conflict of interest between activities of (the city) and his outside consulting." Wrighton must do consulting work during paid vacations and not for any Illinois clients. 

Wrighton will also have 20 vacation days his first year as the city's top executive. He will earn 25 days each year after that, and can carry over one week of vacation between years. 

The new city manager will also have a $550 per month allowance for the use of his personal vehicle for city purposes inside Macon County, and a $250 monthly allowance for his cellphone and other technology. 

The pick comes almost seven months after former City Manager Tim Gleason announced he would be leaving the position to take up the same role for the city of Bloomington. Officials have not yet determined Wrighton's starting date, though it will likely be somewhere near late March, Wrighton said.

The council conducted candidate interviews at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel in December, and in a previous closed session the month prior they met with the recruiting consultant from GovHR USA, former Bloomington City Manager Mark Peterson, to narrow their search.

The council hired the Northbrook consulting firm to handle the process with fees not to exceed $18,500. 

A recruitment brochure put out by GovHR USA in the summer listed the salary range for the position as $175,000 to $190,000, depending on qualifications and experience.

Under Decatur's form of government, the city manager is the head municipal executive, responsible for hiring and firing employees and overseeing all city operations and departments. 

Wrighton has been city manager in Streator for more than four years and also was city manager there from 1987-1994. He also was as the city manager of Kirksville, Missouri for nine years; on the faculty of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government for six years; and as the city manager of a private new urbanism development project in India for five years. He became village administrator of Mount Zion when he was 26.

"It was a long time ago, but it was a good learning experience," Wrighton said.

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Contact Tom Lisi at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @tommylisi

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Decatur Reporter

Decatur reporter for the Herald & Review.

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