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BATAVIA TERMINATES CITY ADMINISTRATOR'S CONTRACT 'DIFFERENCES OF OPINION,' NOT CHARGES OF WRONGDOING, CITED BY GAMBLE AND BOARD

The City Council Monday night unanimously terminated the contract of City Administrator Vilas S. Gamble.

Gamble, whose job as city administrator will end Friday, will remain as a consultant for the balance of the year and will be paid his full salary of $51,085 and vacation days and sick leave. The resolution was announced at a news conference last Friday.

Gamble, 45, was named to succeed City Administrator Ira M. Gates, who retired in February 1986. He previously served as city manager of Arnold, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, for six years. Council President Paul J. Weiss said in a prepared statement that, "Over the past couple of years differences of opinion have developed over philosophical issues relating to the administrator's office."

Gamble said, "These differences . . . make it difficult to function in the administrator's position and for Council to proceed with city business as it should."

Gamble said last week that he had had "interference from City Council members in the operation of my affairs."

He declined to name names.

The move, apparently engineered in several closed Council sessions since June 1, had bipartisan support. The nine-member Council was all Republican until Jan. 1, when three Democrats -- headed by Weiss -- won at-large seats.

Weiss called a special meeting for 8 p.m. Thursday, when Assistant Administrator William Reemtsen will be named acting administrator. Weiss told reporters last Friday that a search committee probably would be named to seek a replacement for Gamble.

Gamble will continue as a paid consultant for six months and said he expects to spend "a couple of hours a day, a couple of days a week" in that role.

A joint statement on the action stressed there are "absolutely no allegations or insinuation of wrongdoing on Gamble's part during his tenure."

Despite at least a half-dozen recent meetings on personnel, Weiss said he anticipates no other changes in appointed offices in the city.

The Council Monday also approved 7-to-2 a 6-percent wage increase for 15 non-union full- and part-time city employees, most of them managerial.

Councilmen John C. Goebert and Thomas J. Franco voted against the increase. Goebert said he had "problems with a couple of positions" and said he could not approve a raise "they don't deserve."

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