It's a safe bet that no matter how trivial the subject matter, Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger won't be surprising council members any time soon.
Several council members said Krieger was taken to task during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night for failing to tell them about a consulting contract worth about $50,000 he signed with former police chief David Dial when Dial retired in May.
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Between May 23 and Aug. 18, the city continued to pay Dial as it had as chief -- by prorating his annual $155,213.45 salary -- plus payments to his retirement plan, according to his contract,
A memo distributed to council members earlier this spring mentioned, in a single sentence, that Dial would retire on May 18 and be kept on as a consultant. No financial details were disclosed.
When the Daily Herald obtained the contract, via the Freedom of Information Act on Nov. 7, not a single council member claimed to have knowledge of the deal.
Krieger, who is authorized to approve expenses up to $100,000, did not discuss the contract with council members beyond the line in the memo. Based on Tuesday's meeting, he likely will in the future.
"Mr. Krieger was given direction to notify the council on any action like this moving forward. It was a conversation on communication," Councilman Grant Wehrli said. "I like surprises when they're fun surprises and I'll leave it at that. I think he gets it."
Councilman Robert Fieseler, who supports and defended Krieger's actions regarding the need for the contract, said the meeting was civil, with a clear message.
"The maxim was clear: No surprises," Fieseler said. "One never wants to put their supervisors in the awkward position of being surprised."
Councilman Steve Chirico declined to discuss details of the closed-door meeting but said he believes the contract should have been made public from the start.
"We have nothing to hide and this could lend the perception that we did," Chirico said. "I think the sentiment is we could have avoided all of this had we just been transparent and made the agreement public."
Krieger also declined to discuss the executive session but confirmed the message had been delivered.
"I personally won't talk about closed session topics just because it's a closed session. I can talk about what has gone on outside of closed session and some individuals have expressed a desire to be made aware of contracts like that going forward," Krieger said. "I will absolutely do that. (It's) not a big deal."
Krieger also stood by his decision to retain Dial's services as new police Chief Robert Marshall transitioned into the position.
"Yeah I do (stand by the decision)," Krieger said. "Some people may agree and others may disagree."