Source: Sherman Publications

Sidge again village manger after 3-2 vote

by David Fleet

October 12, 2011

It’s been about eight months since longtime village manager Jakki Sidge vacated her office after a 3-2 vote on Feb.11, when the village council approved a motion requesting her resignation.

At the Oct. 10 village meeting a somewhat new council voted 3-2 to bring Sidge back as village manager.

Councilmembers Pete Morey, Rick Horton and Richard Saroli voted yes to hire Sidge. Councilmembers Doug McAbee and Phil Jackson voted no. Sidge was one of four candidates considered by the council after a field of 17 had applied last month. None of the other three were discussed or considered at the meeting.

The village will offer Sidge a one-year contract, $38,000 per year and 32 hours per week. There will be no insurance benefits included.

Village Council President Rick Horton made the motion to hire Sidge.

"My criteria for hiring Sidge was based on what she did for the community and what she could do—she did a great job with grants—she earned millions of dollars. However, she’s not a true people person. We’ll ask her to change."

Councilmember McAbee saw it differently.

"There are conflicts in the community with Sidge," said McAbee. "She (Sidge) is not a people person. Look at the long term—why hire someone who has a problem? I understand the voting process here. The other council members use the excuse to hire (Sidge) was the grant writing—that’s just a small part of the job. What about meeting the public daily? What about the businesses in the community? She’s not known to be business friendly."

McAbee also questioned the separation from the village agreement Sidge signed when she left in March.

"So what about the settlement Sidge took? She accepted money and agreed to leave. That’s still in effect. However, I’m going to work with the council and Sidge—I’m not going to challenge her."

Highlights of the termination package included: Four months severance pay, five weeks vacation, two months of health coverage through COBRA and only providing time of employment and job descriptions of her time at the village for employment inquiries.

Councilman Richard Saroli, who voted for Sidge, had been opposed to the idea earlier this year. However, after the Plante & Moran report was released in August which called for a 32-hour work week for the village administrator, he changed his mind.

"The council is taking a risk in adopting a 32-hour schedule. Add to that the appointment of a new village administrator and the risk factor climbs dramatically."

The council’s actions should save the village about $26,000 by reducing the village administrator to 32 hours. In addition, cuts to the DPW and reductions in village hours would save another $40,000. "The total savings is about $68,000," said Saroli. "The Plante & Moran study suggested we could realize about $100,000 savings."

Several attendees at the Monday meeting were displeased with the decision and departed the village hall.

The village adminstrator position had been vacant since March.

Terms of the agreement were turned over to the village attorney to prepare.