EAST PEORIA — City Administrator Jeff Eder is leaving his job. His last day is Friday.
"We (the city council and Eder) decided to part ways three or four months ago," Eder said Thursday. "The timing (to leave now) is because my contract is up and won't be renewed."
Eder came to East Peoria in August, 2016, from Rock Island, where he had been the assistant city manager. He replaced Tom Brimberry, who retired in January, 2016 after 20 years working for East Peoria, the last 14 as city administrator.
Eder said he struggled some with a lack of direction from a city council in the middle of a debate on whether to change the city's form of government. For 100 years the city has operated under the commission form of government, which gives oversight of the city's departments — such as public safety and public works — to individual commissioners, not the city administrator. This summer the council approved a ballot initiative to do away with the council form of government at one meeting, then two weeks later rescinded the vote and kept the question off the November ballot.
Eder said the split on the board sometimes made his job difficult and his role uncertain.
"The council was always supportive of the department heads that I had no authority over, but there was less support for me," Eder said. "In the end both sides decided the best thing to do was go in a different direction."
Eder said his was disappointed that his job ended the way it did, but that leaves with no regrets and no hard feelings.
"I have great respect for every commissioner individually," Eder said. "But they have got to get focused on a direction and on the council as a whole, not on the individual departments they represent."
In his relatively brief tenure, Eder said he helped accomplish several of the goals that were spelled out during strategic planning sessions in 2017. He counted implementing a sales tax increase to help with a budget deficit and the re-establishment of a financial reserve plan as two important accomplishments.
"We were able to get some things accomplished here," he said.
Eder said he was a finalist in a couple of city government jobs in the last few months, but has not yet found a new job. He received no severance package from the city on his departure. He said he did not believe that the city has begun in earnest any attempt to find a successor.
Mayor Dave Mingus could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Eder's departure marks the beginning of a significant turnover in city government and operation. Commissioners Tim Jeffers and John Kahl are both running for mayor in the April municipal elections, to fill the office being vacated by Mingus's decision not to run for a fourth term.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.