QUINCY -- Director of Administrative Services John "Skip" Bright was the target of a vote of no confidence Monday night by City Council.
A vote of no confidence is advisory by nature. The measure does not demand any specific action from Mayor Kyle Moore.
The vote of no confidence stemmed from events that became public less than a month ago, most notably when Bright was accused by Alderman Tom Ernst, R-3, on Aug. 20 of insubordination for sending a July message to outgoing airport manager Terrance Ward that called Ernst an "obstructionist" and suggested that Ward limit one-on-one communications with the alderman.
Bright said that he was responding to Ward's concerns that Ernst was trying to manage him and the airport with frequent calls or other contact. Ernst was chairman of the Aeronautics Committee at the time but resigned from that position at the Aug. 20 council meeting.
The council voted 9-2 in favor of the no-confidence measure, with an additional three "present" ballots. One of those casting a vote for the no confidence motion was Ernst.
"I don't feel Skip can do a proper job," Ernst said, without getting into specific details. "Things are not moving smoothly."
Ernst provided The Herald-Whig a copy of the message he said was sent by Bright to Hall on July 24:
"Terry, please confine contact with Aeronautics to an absolute minimum, Ernst is being obstructionist in every way possible, and you communicating directly with him feeds that fire. He's trying to insert himself into management inappropriately ... this becomes a chain of command issue, you to me, me to the committee, no exceptions."
Bright declined comment, other than to say he "respected the opinion of council," and he was disappointed he did not have an opportunity to address council members.
The no-confidence motion was the last item on a lengthy council agenda and was quickly handled.
Moore said this type of disagreement should have been better handled "behind closed doors." He said his primary concern is to keep city matters running in a "smooth manner."
Bright has overseen most of Quincy government's day-to-day operations since May 2017.
Corporation Counsel Lonnie Dunn said last week the director of administrative services is appointed by the mayor and "serves at the pleasure of the mayor." Dunn said there is nothing in city code that would give the City Council authority over that position.
Dunn said a vote of no confidence is a parliamentary procedure, where "a legislative body can express a lack of faith or confidence in somebody."
Bright went through a performance review with the mayor about six weeks ago and told The Herald-Whig last week there were no negative findings.
The director of administrative services position was known as deputy mayor until the 1990s.
Prior to his current position, Bright had served as executive director of the Quincy Business and Technology Center. Before that, Bright was chief financial officer of Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials and Heinz Electric Co.; president and CEO of Keokuk Savings Bank in Keokuk, Iowa; and a founding member of the Tri-State Development Summit.
Glenda Hackemack was Moore's first director of administrative services. She began her duties in mid-2013 and left in late 2016 to take an executive position with Quincy Medical Group.
Council appointed Sandra Shore to a one-year term as Quincy Regional Airport manager, effective Oct. 15. She will replace Terrance Ward, who resigned in mid-August but will remain in the position until Shore begins.
Shore is currently airport manager in Lebanon, Mo., and was Moore's choice for the position if council rejected a bid -- which it did -- for Aero Management Group to take run the facility.
Shore's starting salary will be $67,000.
Council rejected a five-year contract with the Aero Management Group that would have cost the city $78,000 per year.