O'Fallon's Firing of City Administrator Could Cost Upwards of $112K

Details on the firing don't go further than the O'Fallon City Council officially chalking it up to a desire to change the direction of the city's leadership.

O'Fallon officials have reached a separation agreement with Keith Riesberg, the city administrator who was fired Jan. 10, and it appears to be costing the city a good amount of money. 

According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the agreement with Riesberg includes severance pay of $62,491 and could cost the city more than $112,000, plus medical and life insurance coverage. And if Riesberg doesn't find a full-time job by Aug. 10, he'll receive additional weekly severance payments of $2,403 until Dec. 31 or until he gets a new job before that date.

Details on the firing don't go further than the O'Fallon City Council officially chalking it up to a desire to change the direction of the city's leadership. Further, city officials say the termination was without cause.

According to another Post-Dispatch article, Riesberg will be available as an adviser or consultant to the city and agrees not to sue the city.

Riesberg began as O'Fallon city administrator in January 2010 and previously served as city manager for Sedalia, MO.

Assistant City Administrator Lenore Toser-Aldaz will act as city administrator until a permanent replacement is found.

Riesberg, meanwhile, said he was respectful of the counci's right to pursue the change.

“It has been an honor working with the employees to serve the citizens, and I wish them the best in the future," he said in a release.

On Riesberg's LinkedIn profile, he lists duties during his time in O'Fallon as the following:

  • Managed external relationships/intergovernemental relationships
  • Monitored personnel and operational performance in the delivery of service to citizens
  • Responsible for management of City funds and assets
  • Coordinated special projects and initiatives

More on Keith Riesberg:

  • City Administrator Focuses on Moving O'Fallon Forward
  • O'Fallon Hires New Assistant City Administrator
  • O'Fallon City Administrator Keith Riesberg Fired
  • O'Fallon City Administrator Released from Contract

Jim Frain February 19, 2013 at 02:23 PM
O'Fallon has a history of "short-termed/fired" city administrators. Hopefully, great time and effort will go into finding a new person for this position so that the City of O'Fallon can move forward without these periodic interruptions of direction and the major expense of severance pay, continued benefits, etc., I understand that the search for a replacement will not begin until after the April 2nd election. After the election is over, the Mayor and the City Council need to work effectively and communicate often with the new person in this position to reach success....Until that time, our assistant city administrator will do an admirable and professional job.
Chris Picquet February 19, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Let's hope too, that the next contract we make doesn't rape us for one hundred thousand grand if the person walks or gets fired. If the guys still on the clock have him pick up trash around the city grounds and parks. How 'bout that?
Tom Smith February 19, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Is our city that fluid to spend 100.000, to change direction. Would it not be easier to get the Administrator to change with the directon of the city, at least until the Contract expires. Unfortunatley the entire saga is not being made transparent, unless your are one those in the loop, YES!? I could not agree more with Jim Frain.
Mary G. Wilson February 19, 2013 at 09:10 PM
I had the pleasure of interviewing Keith when I was writing for Patch in late 2010, and believe he is a fine city administrator. No idea what happened with his departure or why. However, having worked in the public and non-profit sectors over a career of 25 years, too often I've watched the loss of CEOs, city administrators, directors, etc., and good ones, due to the personal agendas of a few elected officials. Don't misunderstand - I applaud those who dedicate their time to serving an organization on a board or council, it's a huge commitment. But it does happen when again - some, not all - of those with the power of being in that seat abuse it. As Jim Frain said, communication is key ... let's hope the new administrator, Mayor and council will do so effectively so that everyone is on the same page for the direction of the city ... and any personal agendas are set aside.
Sscott February 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I dont understand the wording he was fired,yet had no issues with him? then he states he wont sue? anyone taking on a job such as this needs time to understand where the city wants to go he needs open commucation with everyone even the citzens of ofallon.to up and say were headed in new direction and he dont fit the change.what change? why not allow him to try and make the changes since hes on contract anyway.pulling the rug out from under someone when he was so highly praised to start with.whats missing in all this? now to pay out more then he would of made is tax dollars.or is it he just didnt fit the click? what a waste of time to him and his family.Pay the man! he would be one of few who didnt sue!
Rich Pope February 20, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Sscott, what happened was both parties agreed to a "separation agreement". What this means is that he will get his remaining salary with the agreement not to sue and also not to speak badly about the city of O'Fallon or any employees. It usually involves a letter of reference that is neutral or better.
Sscott February 20, 2013 at 07:16 PM
not my bad,going by words written in news they fired him. then those words should not be used.what does being fired mean? they needed to use the wording you did separation agreement either way they mean different things.
Tom Smith February 20, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Apparently they agreed to disagree regarding actions taken by the city administrator . Therefore it becomes a personnel matter! Could also be construed by some as a personal matter depending on ones point of view . No matter now,taxpayers pay again! I'm just saying!
Jim Frain February 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Good communication by all on this thread on the "firing/dismissal/separation agreement" of former city administrator Kieth Reisberg. Something broke down in communication between the City Council/Mayor and the City Administrator and that can't happen again because the cost to the city is unacceptable. Bob Lowery was relieved of his duties in 2009 at a city cost of over $240,000..Less than 4 years later Keith Reisberg was relieved at a potentional cost of of $121,000. Approximately $360,000 of wasted salaries/benefits with no results to the city. After the April 2nd elections, our Mayor and our City Council need to seriously consider what they want in a city administrator, how they will communicate efficiently with this city administrator, how they will handle problems that might exist between the council and the city administrator and how they will solve them by working together. Communication is necessary or in a few years we will be "looking for a different direction for the city" and another new city administrator.
Sscott February 21, 2013 at 03:18 AM
thanks Jim and you said it right Good communication; we don't make the headlines we just read them.if anyone wants to look big bold print was fired.then we hear agreement,or headed in different direction then city. no matter its costly either way.Maybe the mayor and staff can put together a clearer understanding of what the job is for the next one.$360,000 isnt pocket change.


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