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CLINTON - A decision made in closed session to terminate an agreement between the city of Clinton and the Clinton Chamber of Commerce could change the city's approach to economic development.

In a letter dated Feb. 1, Clinton City Attorney Steve Myers told the chamber that the city "will be terminating the present practice of having the Administrative Assistant Steve Vandiver work part of his work hours for the city and part of his work hours for the chamber."

Since 2001, the city and chamber have maintained an arrangement that allows Vandiver to serve as the city's economic director and the executive director of the chamber.–;

The chamber has reimbursed the city $20,000 of Vandiver's $60,000 total salary.

City commissioner Bryan Hickman said Saturday that the decision to end the agreement was made Jan. 17 during an executive session of the Clinton City Council.–;

When asked why the council did not vote on the matter in open session, Hickman said Myers advised the council that a public vote was not required because the city and chamber did not have a written agreement.

Hickman also said the discussion centered on the arrangement between the two sides and did not address whether Vandiver would continue in his position.

The Illinois Open Meetings Act requires public bodies to cast votes in public.–;Certain issues relating to personnel, such as hiring, termination or discipline of specific employees, may be handled in closed session.

Myers was not available Saturday to discuss the closed door council action.

Hickman said he supports the move to end the agreement with the chamber because he believes the city needs a full-time economic director.

"I believe we need a full-time economic person not a percentage person," who divides–;time between two entities, said Hickman.

Clinton Chamber president Lance Schmid said the group will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss the city's decision.

"We would like to know why they decided to do this. We've always felt the city and Chamber had a positive relationship," said Schmid.

Schmid said the city and Chamber officials have not met to discuss the situation.

Vandiver said he talked with the City Council about the agreement during the recent closed session.

He declined to give details of the discussion.

The shared position has been effective for the city and Camber, said Vandiver, the city's economic director since 1999.

"I have seen this done in other counties. I think it is working well for the city and the Chamber is now stronger," said Vandiver.

Hickman said the future of the city's economic development program will be on the–; agenda when the council meets at 7 p.m. Monday.


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