Otten tenders resignation

IDOT taking over engineering in Stark County

By John A. Ballentine

TOULON – County engineer of the Stark County Highway Department, Mark J. Otten, has submitted his letter of resignation to officials of the county. The letter will be formally accepted at the regular Nov. 13 county board meeting, it was stated at a county board finance meeting on Oct. 30.

Both Stark County State’s Attorney James Owens and county board chairman Al Curry said, “I don’t know the answer to that,” when asked when Otten submitted his letter.

Asked why Otten resigned, Curry said, “I guess Bellwether thought it was the way to go.”

Bellwether, LLC was hired Oct. 9 to conduct an “operational review” of the county highway department at a cost of $17,500. That review has been completed according to Curry.

“I think and assume the final report will be released at the Nov. 13 meeting,” Curry said. “The board found out about this (the resignation of Otten) a week ago.”

Otten will be paid through Nov. 9 when his resignation is effective, Curry said. His salary is $102,000 yearly. Asked why Otten was placed on administrative leave, both Owens and Curry said, “I can’t answer that. I don’t know.”

Asked who is in charge of the highway department Curry said, “It’s my understanding that IDOT takes over the engineering part until we (the county board) can fill the vacant position. We are just starting to make the initial moves to fill the position.

“Mrs. (Christine) Moore (office manager) has been given the authority to do the day to day things, such as submitting forms to IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation),” Curry said. “She can do things that are routine on a weekly basis.”

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