A longtime Dayton City Council member has resigned amid a shakeup of city staff that started in June when the mayor fired three top employees without explanation and continued last week during a meeting where two staff were promoted to interim leadership positions without a decision on salary changes.

Dayton City Council member Delphine Bailey resigned near the end of the Wednesday, Aug. 11, City Council meeting.

She cited what she called the lack of a plan by Mayor Zac Weatherford in the resignation letter she read aloud at the meeting.

“The only explanation that you’ve given (for the firings) is that it’s ‘time for change,’” Bailey told the mayor.

Bailey was the chair of the council’s financial committee.

Weatherford fired three of Dayton’s top city employees earlier this summer, and replacements have yet to be hired. Public Works Manager Jim Costello, City Administrator Trina Cole and Planning and Community Development Director Meagan Hayes were terminated on June 16.

Before Bailey’s resignation, Weatherford and the City Council adjusted the titles of two staff members filling the former employees’ previous duties.

Deputy City Clerk Debra Hays was granted the title interim city clerk, and Eddie Strickland was promoted to the position of interim assistant public works director.

According to discussion between Weatherford and the council at the meeting, Hays has been fulfilling a lot of the duties formally performed by fired City Administrator Trina Cole.

Cole’s job included the duties of city clerk and treasurer as well, Hays confirmed.

At Weatherford’s request the council promoted Hays to the position of interim city clerk until a new clerk or city administrator can be hired. The vote didn’t come without extensive discussion, however.

Weatherford said Hays would receive a salary in the range provided for the city administrator or city clerk role. However, no one on hand seemed to know what this amount was, or if enough funds were available.

Multiple council members expressed concern that they did not know how much of a raise the promotion would mean for Hays. They said the budget doesn’t contain line-item reports on how much each city employee makes.

Weatherford said that is because different departments share the cost of paying several employees.

Without specific numbers at hand, the council only agreed to the promotion if the motion included language that her pay would be determined later, presumably after more details on the pay range and available funds can be determined. That motion passed.

Hays confirmed to the U-B on Friday, Aug. 13, that she is in her new position. She said she has not been told when she will know if she is getting a raise. She said she expects it will come after the financial committee’s next meeting.

Strickland’s promotion to interim assistant public works director puts him in charge of the department while the current assistant director, Rob John, is out on medical leave. The position of director has been empty since Costello was terminated in June.

Weatherford said Strickland has been running the department for about a month and that John is expected to be out for two more months.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.


Jeremy covers education, as well as Dayton and Columbia County, for the Union-Bulletin. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2019 with a degree in journalism.

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