On Sept. 1, Alliance City Manager Jeff Sprock verbally resigned from his position, effective immediately, after serving in the role for a little more than one year.
Sprock, who came to Alliance in November 2018, had served as Mitchell’s city administrator since 2015. He ascended to the city manager position in March 2019, following the retirement of Rick Kuckkahn.
Mayor Mike Dafney told the Alliance Times-Herald the separation with Sprock came about as a mutual agreement.
“It was just a mutual agreement that the city and Jeff were going different directions. Once you decide to make that break, it’s just easier and better for both parties to make it clean and make it as soon as possible so that you can get down the road. In Jeff’s case, if he wants to look for different avenues of employment and the city wants to get started, then it’s just better to do it right away, and that’s what we did,” said Dafney.
In a press release on Sept. 2, the Alliance City Council thanked Sprock for his service to the community, wishing him and his family well. At a special meeting on Sept. 4, council members formally accepted Sprock’s resignation. They discussed the appointment of City Clerk Tarrah Johnson and Finance Director Randy Waggener to serve as the interim city managers, in a move to save the city money while paying Sprock’s severance package.
According to Waggener, the severance package, per the contract, includes benefits and totals approximately $10,000 a month for the next four months, or until Sprock finds another position. At the special meeting, Waggener explained that it would also likely cost the city $10,000 per month to hire an interim manager. The council expressed faith in Johnson’s and Waggener’s abilities to handle the extra duties.
“Finance Director Randy Waggener and City Clerk Tarrah Johnson feel that they are the best people to fill this interim, and I would agree,” Dafney said at the meeting.
The council voted unanimously to appoint Johnson and Waggener to the position for a few months, increasing their salaries by five percent. They also voted to give Johnson a bonus $750 per month while serving in that role.
At the end of the meeting, Council Member Ryann Reynolds read a statement thanking Sprock for his service, and wishing him luck.
“This council, in collaboration with Jeff Sprock, have come to the early realization that we both are growing in different directions. As such, it is a pleasure for me to be a part of a council that has a relationship with the city manager that allows us to take a proactive approach to a potential incompatibility, rather than a reactive approach to an already developed problem,” said Reynolds.
Dafney told the Alliance Times-Herald he believes Johnson and Waggener will serve in the role at least through the end of the year while they search for a permanent city manager. During that search, Dafney said he will be looking for someone with a lot of experience to fill the role.
“I want somebody who has had at least six years experience,” Dafney said. “I want their experience to be in running a city that entails all that we have. We have a large electric system that reaches clear to Berea and out into the country to the south. We have a huge park system. We have an airport, too, that we run. I want that experience in there, also. Experience is big. I’m looking for somebody who has a city manager’s degree, especially in economics. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on.”
Dafney noted that in the interim he has full faith in Johnson and Waggener, as well as the heads of each department.
“I was here 18 years before and Randy has impressed me,” said Dafney. “He’s really good in there. Our audit report has been as good as it’s ever been in my previous 18 years. Our financials are excellent here. Linda Jines did a great job getting Tarrah trained. She hasn’t missed a beat stepping in for Linda. They’re the right people.
“We’ve got great department heads as well,” Dafney said. “We’re not going to miss a beat with them. I think we’re in good shape with Tarrah, Randy and our department heads. We have good senior staff people.”